Kampala. The Internal Security Organisation (ISO) has submitted to President Museveni a report on government’s wasteful expenditure and recommended a merger or abolition of some state agencies.
The intelligence agency compiled the report between July and November in response to President Museveni’s earlier letter demanding information on how much money ministries and agencies were costing the government.
Addressing journalists at ISO headquarters in Nakasero yesterday, the Director of Political Affairs, Lt Col Joseph Aliganyira, said the report was submitted to the President on November 25.
The report scrutinised expenditures of ministries and government agencies in the 2016/2017 budget and highlighted astronomical wasteful spending on non-essential issues.
The report pointed out that most wasteful expenditures were on consultancy, travel, welfare and entertainment, fuel and workshops.
It was also discovered that a lot of money is spent on duplicated or overlapping functions between the main ministries and the agencies.
For instance, the ISO report a copy of whose summary Daily Monitor has seen, says government agencies and ministries in 2016/17 financial year spent Shs190 billion on welfare and entertainment, Shs353b on travel and Shs393b on consultancy.
The report further reveals that Shs151b was spent on fuel, Shs46b on advertising and a whopping Shs104b on workshops and seminars.
According to the report, Uganda Revenue Authority, was the top spending agency on welfare of staff at a cost of Shs6.3b. On staff welfare, URA is followed by Kyambogo University with Shs3b; Electoral Commission Shs1.9b, and Kampala Capital City Authority Shs1.6b. The three are the top spenders by agency.
The top spenders on welfare among ministries include Ministry of Finance at Shs1.7b, Ministry of Public Service at Shs 1.1b; Ministry of Water and Environment at Shs900m. The Ministry of Agriculture spent Shs 900m, Gender and Prime Minister’s office spent Shs700m each on staff welfare.
The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development was the biggest spender on consultancy and used Shs66.6b followed by Ministry of Water and Environment at Shs 52.8b.
The Ministry of Finance spent Shs51.4b, Agriculture Shs28.2b and Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Shs26.9b.This translates into a total of Shs226b compared to Shs36.6b the agencies spend on consultancy.
The Uganda Cancer Institute is the biggest spending agency on consultancy. In the 2016/17 it spent Shs 9.8b on consultancy followed by the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) at Shs7.8b. Others are, KCCA with 6.8m, Uganda Management Institute with Shs 4.8b, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) at Shs 3.9b, and, Uganda National Metrological Authority with Shs 3.5b.
The report indicates that ministries spend more money than agencies on travel, with State House staff topping the spending list on trips at Shs56b.
State House is followed by Parliament in wasteful expenditure on travel with Shs21.4b; Ministry of Health (Shs 19.6b); Ministry of Education (Shs16b) and Ministry of Defence (Shs15.7b).
The ISO report queries why there is duplication of functions by different agencies which should have been done by the relevant or line ministries.
For example, ISO cites a total of Shs482.9b which was spent on distribution of agricultural inputs to farmers by 17 different teams, departments and agencies yet these items could have been distributed by Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.
For example, the National Agricultural Advisory Services (Naads), National Agricultural Research Organisation and Uganda Coffee Development Authority supplied farm inputs yet Ministry of Agriculture was also supplying the farmers at the same time.
Besides, other government agencies such as National Forestry Authority, Uganda Prisons, KCCA, Kyambogo University, State House, Ministry of Education, and Uganda Police and Office of Prime Minister were also carrying out duplicate functions supplying agricultural inputs or materials.
“At the end of the year, you find that these agencies carry out duplicated roles that would have been done by the Ministry of Agriculture which is directly mandated to supply such inputs. But you find KCCA, UCDA, Operation Wealth Creation among others also supplied inputs. This is unnecessary expenditure,” Lt Col Aliganyira told the press yesterday.
The report also cited the fragmentation of skills development. It observed that each ministry was carrying out its own skills development instead of one ministry doing the job for all the deserving ministries.
Skills development consumed a staggering Shs461b of the 2016/17 budgets of ministries of Education, Gender and Local Governments.
According to Col Aliganyira, the intelligence agency questioned why government workers are paid separately for projects and consultancy services under their respective ministries yet they are supposed to do such work by virtue of their employment.
The intelligence agency said this is a scheme calculated to enrich the same civil servants, in different ministries, for the same work they were employed to do.
The ISO report pointed that 209 projects in government ministries consumed Shs4.9 trillion in 2016/2017 financial year.
The intelligence agency describes this as wasteful expenditure on skills which are already paid for under the civil service employment.
“We found out that some of these projects would have been handled by the ministries in their day-to-day activities to end wasteful expenditure. The civil servants are hired to execute them to enrich themselves when other workers elsewhere are suffering on low pay. The same is on consultancies where civil servants are using these channels to top up because they do consultancies among themselves,” Col Aliganyira said.
He was speaking on behalf of the ISO director general, Col Frank Kaka Bagyenda.
The ISO advised the President that government should carry out reforms by abolishing and or merging agencies with duplicating functions in order to reduce on the wasteful expenditure and use the money to enhance salaries of civil servants.
Currently, the government is facing pressure rising out of industrial actions by various professionals such as medical doctors, prosecutors and judicial officers, all demanding a salary increase and improved welfare and working conditions.
Government, through Ministry of Public Service, has embarked on harmonisation of salaries for civil servants as a way of ending wage disparities and persistent strikes by public servants.