TOP MINISTERS LOSE POWER AS M7 RE-ORGANIZES GOV’T
By Mulengera Reporter
In order to achieve the harmonized way of doing things and delivering services while avoiding wasteful duplication of roles and wasting of scarce resources, President Museveni has insisted that the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda works with the Finance Ministry (and more so Dev’t Planning Minister David Bahati) to quickly reform and reorganize the way government works.
As a result, there will be program-based budgeting and implementation of service delivery whereby each MDA budget will have to be aligned to the country’s long term development goals and objectives as articulated in the NDP III (2020-2025). There is already a well-articulated Program Implementation Action Plan (PIAP) in place. It gives a detailed description of activities and resources required to achieve the desired development and transformation targets realizable within the stipulated time frame of the next 5 years. Each of the government MDAs must draw or derive their strategic plans from the same PIAP document.
Broadly speaking, the NDP III-enabled program-based approach shifts from the current status quo according to which service delivery has been by way of sectors. This development paradigm shift is something cabinet and Parliament have been inputting into since January and many accounting officers and stakeholders never expected these changes to affect or impact on them in the significant ways it has turned out to. They for instance, won’t have the flexibility to autonomously spend government money anymore the way they wanted or used to except on activities that enhance the realization of the country’s long term development goals and objectives as enshrined under NDP III.
Broadly speaking, the NDP III (whose goals and objectives are to be realized through program-based approach for the next 5 years) seeks to achieve increased household incomes and improved quality of life for all Ugandans in the next five years. It also prioritizes sustainable industrialization for employment and wealth creation to achieve inclusive growth for all citizens of Uganda. For all these to be realized, the country must engage in value addition in whatever it produces, grow capacity of the private sector to drive growth & create jobs; expand the stock of infrastructure; increase productivity & wellbeing of the population and strengthen the role of the state in development processes.
Yet that isn’t all. The country must harness its tourism potential, increase local content participation, promote mineral-based industrialization, local manufacturing, institutionalize maintenance of infrastructure, increase access to reliable/affordable energy, institutionalize the HR planning processes, streamline vocational training, increase access to social protection programs, leverage on PPPs approach and increase the state participation in key strategic sectors while maintaining peace & security.
In very specific terms, the NDP III-enabled program-based service delivery approach seeks to achieve development and transformation of Uganda by scoring the following indicators: every Ugandan earning a minimum of $1,301 (roughly Shs1.5m) per year and an average life expectancy of 70 years benefiting all Ugandans. The target under Vision 2040 (from which all NDPs are derived) is $9,500. The other key indicators that must be realized include significantly reducing the number of Ugandans below the poverty line and achieving the annual real GDP growth rate of 7%.
The others are growing the contribution of industry to GDP to 25%; ensuring that 20% of our foreign exchange earnings is contributed by manufactured exports, growing the export to GDP ratio to 20%; growing our earnings from tourism to over $2.5bn, growing the agricultural sector by 7% annually, having all our 22 industrial parks fully serviced in the next 5 years, growing the contribution of savings to GDP to over 35%, annually creating over 527,000 gainful jobs for Ugandans and ensuring over 60% of the households have access to electricity by 2025. The other is ensuring that 100% of all districts in Uganda have access to broadband internet by 2025. The country must also diminish the number of citizens dependent on subsistence agriculture from the current 68.9% to under 55%.
The other key results the Museveni/Bahati reorganization of government must achieve is ensuring that 55% of Ugandans are gainfully employed by 2025. To ensure environmental preservation, 12% of the country must comprise of wetland cover and 18% of the same must comprise of forests which is good to mitigate the negative climate change effects. The country must also enlarge its youngsters’ average years of schooling from 6 to 11 years. The infant mortality rate (basically the number of children dying during child birth out of every 1,000) must come to zero. And yet the number of mothers dying during child birth (in every 100,000) too must decline to 299 annually from the current 336.
The rural communities’ access to clean running water should grow to 85% and yet in urban areas’ access to water coverage should be scaled to 100% effectively catering for everyone. There must also be improved toilet coverage to more than 40% in the whole country in the next five years ahead of 2040 whose target is 80% access to sanitation and appropriate hand washing facilities.
Whereas the Uganda Vision 2040 envisages 70% of the population being possessed with health insurance, the Musevenist reorganization of government seeks to ensure that at least 25 in every 100 Ugandans are enabled to access health insurance. The NDP III-imposed government reforms also seek to achieve the tax to GDP ratio of 15% against the 25% target envisaged under Vision 2040.
To achieve the above development planning, growth and transformation agenda, President Museveni has thought the Finance Ministry opted to reorganize his government by having all the hundreds of MDAs perform their mandated service delivery tasks while falling under 18 broad program areas including Agro-Industrialization (under Sempija’s MAAIF), Mineral Development (under Gorette Kitutu’s Energy & Mineral Devt Ministry) and Sustainable Development of Petroleum Resources (under Kitutu too).
The other broad program areas include Tourism Development (under Kiwanda/Butime’s Tourism Ministry); Natural Resources, environment, climate change, land & water management (under Sam Cheptoris’ MWE); Private sector development (under (under Min of Finance); Manufacturing (under Amelia Kyambadde’s Trade Industry & Cooperatives Ministry); Integrated Transport Infrastructure & Services (under Katumba Wamala’s Min of Works & Transport); Sustainable Energy Development (under Kitutu); Digital Transformation (under Judith Nabakooba’s Min of ICT & National Guidance); Sustainable Urbanization & Housing (under Beti Kamya’s Lands Ministry); Human Capital Development (under Janet Museveni’s Min of Education & Sports); Innovation, Technology Development & Transfer (under Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye’s Min of Science, Technology & Innovation); Community Mobilization & Mindset Change (under Gender); Governance & Security (under Office of the President), Public Sector Transformation (under Muruli Mukasa’s Public Service Ministry), Regional Development (under Local Govt Ministry) and Development Planning & Implementation under Matia Kasaija’s Finance & Economic Development Planning Ministry.
The new arrangement, which is aimed at ensuring that different government MDAs closely work together to achieve common service delivery goals while synergizing and avoiding wasteful duplication, will have different relevant sector technical and political leaders report to an overall program leader who will be the Minister and PS of the lead agency. And by insisting on this program-led approach to doing government business and service delivery, which is taking effect immediately, President Museveni has inadvertently created some super ministers and Permanent Secretaries while deflating others.
The idea is that, whereas people will remain accounting officers (PSs) and political leaders of their sectors like before, there will be a mandatory engagement forum obliging everybody to be transparent and have their plans discussed and scrutinized under the program approach to overcome duplication which has seen different government MDAs autonomously implement similar projects aimed at achieving similar end results yet they all work for the same government for the benefit of the same population.
“The PSs will remain accounting officers in their ministries but they are losing their autonomy and flexibility when deciding on their sector priority activities on which government money must be expended,” says a top technocrat close to key reform implementer David Bahati.
Muluri Mukasa’s Public Service Ministry will for instance coordinate all the staff training decisions for all government votes and MDAs to ensure the country’s scarce resources are expended on acquisition of skills required to implement Uganda’s long term development and transformation agenda as proclaimed in NDP III. The Wansegeya-based Ministry will for instance be required to ensure all money for staff development at the neighboring MoH goes into training super specialists as a matter of priority. The constitution of PUJAB, which determines who gets admitted to a public University on government sponsorship, will consequently have to be reviewed to bring in representatives from the Public Service Ministry and relevant planning agencies like NPA. Reviewing of government agencies and Ministry will have to be undertaken with many MDAs being ultimately dissolved or merged with others to eliminate duplication of roles which Gen Museveni and his influential brother Salim Saleh believe has been too much in Uganda costing the taxpayer a fortune.
Under the new reorganization, the mandate of the central committees of Parliament will equally have to be realigned to capacitate them to effectively sanction votes whose accounting officers fail to comply with the dictates of the new program-based approach to service delivery already doing wonders in Mauritius and South Africa. Even the Auditor General’s recommendations will be implemented more severely to ensure that non-compliant accounting officers, who insist on wasteful expenditures by undertaking activities already funded elsewhere in a different sector, are severely reprimanded.
The all-powerful Office of the Prime Minister is equally getting deflated in the new reorganization of government as the relevant reorganization documents are demanding that the Premier Rugunda or whoever comes after him concentrates on coordination of government business with the entire OPM ceasing to have anything to do with implementation of any of the GoU service delivery programs. Matia Kasaija’s Finance Ministry will have the task of overseeing the overall implementation of the new reorganization of government as their technical head the PSST Keith Muhakanizi has a lot of levers at his disposal, including having the last word on the posting or even removal of accounting officers for the different votes through which the Museveni government effects service delivery for the Ugandan citizens.
A knowledgeable GoU source, adequately briefed about the impending reorganization of government, illustrated to Mulengera News why this new program-based approach is necessary and was long over due. “Just imagine the shameful wastage we have been having. Look at it this way; the Kitgum House Express Way has had to be expensively redesigned because there was no interface and coordination between UNRA and other agencies like KCCA, the SGR project and others. In the end, where UNRA planned the road project to pass turned out to be the exact place the SGR had been planned to pass and as a result, colossal sums of money has had to be expended to redesign the Kitgum House Express Way project to avoid colliding with the SGR plans yet this could cheaply have been avoided if we had the program-based approach compelling people in government to plan and work together during implementation of government projects,” the source explained.
Saying there are many such projects which have turned out more costly to the taxpayer simply because of absence of the program-based approach-enabled coordination, the same source referenced on land acquisition for major government infrastructure projects being such a major constraint largely because UNRA hasn’t been working closely enough with other relevant government agencies in the planning and implementation of such projects and again the taxpayer has been the major loser. “Its not only UNRA by the way. Just check out how much time and money this country has lost in power transmission infrastructure projects simply because UETCL hasn’t been working enough with other MDAs serving the same government and same populace. Did you know that it has been possible to have three Directorates in the same Ministry working towards achieving the same end but each running a different project with its own funding? Where does that happen? Its such anomalies that this new reorganization of government seeks to cure because its mischief which the President can’t tolerate anymore,” asserts the same source. “Everybody, including the President and development partners, is sick and tired of that ineptness which is why this is going to be a major reform which nobody is going to be allowed to frustrate. All government plans and budgets should speak the same language and the ultimate goal is to achieve the enhanced results-oriented way of doing service delivery in this country.”
And to be able to demonstrate or illustrate very quickly how the new program-based approach can work turning the situation into a win-win for everyone, the source revealed that a pilot service corridor will quickly be implemented along Kampala-Hoima Highway where the relevant agencies of government will acquire land together for the establishment of infrastructure like roads for UNRA, railway by URC, electricity by UETCL and pipeline facilities by the National Oil Company. The idea is once this works out perfectly well, a model will have been established which the other government MDAs will be compelled to emulate and benchmark upon.
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