The presence of very many centres of power in government is hampering service delivery, the Prime Minister has said.Speaking at the launch of the National Development Policy Forum on Friday evening, Mr Amama Mbabazi cited the failure by the government to fix the bridge that connects Kanungu to the rest of the country for the past two years despite resources being earmarked for the works.
He said the contractor assigned the work had been found wanting but efforts to remove him had failed due to “different power centres”.
“I have made all sorts of threats in and outside Cabinet, including a unilateral declaration of independence for Kanungu from government,” Mr Mbabazi said.
The matter of harmonising these power centres, said Mr Mbabazi, is one that “Ugandans have to look at critically”.
Mr Mbabazi’s complaint comes on the backdrop of incessant protests by President Museveni about the conduct of government bureaucrats who frustrate investors as they seek bribes.
The forum was organised by the National Planning Authority and Advocate Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), an NGO under the theme “Effect of Procurement Procedures on Resource Absorption and Project Implementation in Uganda”.
Mr Mbabazi advised that while procurement and its processes are important, they should facilitate, and not stifle, government operations.
Mr David Luyimbazi, the planning director at UNRA, said for every month lost while procuring a $100 million (about Shs243 billion) project, Ugandan taxpayers pay an additional $1 million (about Shs2.4 billion) to cater for inflation losses.
“A long procurement process adds unnecessary cost to a project. Someone has to pay for the cost of inflation as a contractor cannot simply absorb increase of these costs,” Mr Luyimbazi said.
Mr Arthur Bainomugisha, the executive director of ACODE, said there is an urgent need to review the legal framework of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority but without affecting its integrity.
“While the procurement process must be rigorous, it should never constrain government to deliver services to the people,” he said.