Government told to reduce administrative costs

Tuesday May 31 2011

By Justus Lyatuu

Kampala

Civil Society Organisations have asked the government to cut down on administrative expenditures as Ugandans await the 2011/12 budget reading.

Speaking during a high level policy budget dialogue in Kampala yesterday, Mr Godber Tumushabe, the executive director of Advocates for Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), said data shows that public expenditure takes up to 23 per cent of Uganda’s national budget.

Mr Tumushabe said: “Public administration, political bureaucracy, the growing number of local government representatives and Members of Parliament take a large chunk of tax payers’ money which is mostly spent on political patronage, bribes and corruption.” ACODE is an independent public policy research, analysis and advocacy think tank, that advocates good governance and pro-people development.

The dialogue supported by ACODE and Daily Monitor brought together different stakeholders from the government, NGO, local government and the media to discuss priorities that the government should focus on in the upcoming budget.

Mr Morrison Rwakakamba, the country programme manager of Twaweza, an NGO, said Uganda will have to fork out up to Shs28 billion in the upcoming budget to run the newly created districts part of which (about Shs1 billion) is lost through bureaucratic tendencies and procurement procedures annually. “With a population of about 33 million and a GDP of $60 billion, Uganda runs a Parliament of 375. We badly need to reflect on the costs of this over representation,” Mr Rwakakamba said.

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Saving money
He added: “I wish to recommend that we adopt a proportional or per capita representation basing on a 200,000 population quota. At 33 million we will have only 165 MPs, this will mean that as a country we will save about Shs252 billion, which can be channelled to creating jobs and other productive sectors of the economy.”

Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the deputy secretary to the Treasury, said civil societies should be more active in monitoring the budget than leaving it to the government. He said: “We need support from the civil society in monitoring the budget. A part from the media, CSOs have been quite.” Mr Rwakakamba advised that the number of ministers should be reduced to the 1995 Constitution provision of 42 as well as balkanisation of districts cut to emphasis service delivery.

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