Amuru civil servants shun staff quarters

Friday August 19 2011

By CISSY MAKUMBI

Several staff houses constructed by aid agencies in Amuru District to enable civil servants stay near where they work to effectively execute their duties are unoccupied. The majority of the civil servants prefer to travel to and from Gulu Town daily.

The 16 units of houses were constructed in 2010 with funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Northern Uganda Transition Initiative, an arm of USAID.

The State Minister for Local Government, Mr Alex Onzima, and Water State Minister Betty Bigombe, who is also the district Woman MP, during a visit to the district headquarters on Monday were shocked to discover that some civil servants report for duty after midday, a practice that has adversely affected service delivery.
The ministers were surprised to discover that only four of the 16 housing units built for the workers have been occupied while many of the senior civil servants continue to operate from Gulu town, about 50 kilometres away.

“You either work or resign because we are not ready to keep civil servants who are frustrating government programmes,” Mr Onzima said. There has been an outcry from development partners that civil servants are jeopardising their aid efforts in the district as they reportedly often abscond from duty and planning meetings.

Mr Bigombe said Amuru was carved out of Gulu District to take services closure to the people, adding that this was being hindered by civil servants’ failure to live in the district. Ms Bigombe said Amuru civil servants are not committed to their jobs.

She said during her recent visits to the district headquarters, she discovered that civil servants are always absent from their offices without genuine reasons.

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An earlier report released by an investigation team from the Office of the President indicates that the district uses about Shs60 million monthly on avoidable fuel expenses, especially transport to and from Gulu town where majority of the civil servants live.

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