We need services, not districts

Monday June 17 2019


By Michael Aboneka

There has always been a call to reduce the size of public administration thus reducing the cost of public administration. The argument has always been that creating more administrative units strains the budget so hard that you have more expenditure and consumption rather than production and provision of services.
Whereas the spirit of the decentralisation policy is to bring services nearer to the people, this has not been the case and thus there is need to probe further.

Lets us look at one of the factors-cost of running public administration; it is so humongous for taxpayers to hold. If it would need at least Shs139 billion to just birth a new district, how about if we used this money to enhance service delivery?
We have been lost in creating more local units in the name of delivering services without even taking an honest audit on the performance of the existing ones.

The intention of administrative units is to bring services closer to the people and not merely creating more jobs/rewards for some people at the expense of others. I do not understand the logic of creating more districts without facilities in the name of creating jobs.
The President has on several occasions stated that the number of civil servants should be reduced! At the same time, he goes ahead to sanction the establishment of new districts supposedly upon demand by the people. This is not acceptable!

However, what is important is to review the whole system administration. In a district, for example, you will have an RDC, a CAO, LC5 boss, LC3, many MPs, a Woman MP, councillors, parish chiefs, and several technical personnel. The question is, what do all these people do in insuring services delivery?

How are you going to reduce civil servants yet you are creating more administrative units? This defies logic. We need to shift from serving political rewards to full service delivery commitments. I would instead increase the number of teachers in order to reduce the teacher-pupil ratio, increase number health workers, veterinary officers, and agriculture officers, among others.
This is what they call bringing services closer to the people, but not mere creating administrative units, which exist in name when in essence, it is all about sharing facilities and resources with the mother district.

If we are to transform Uganda and attain a middle income status without leaving any one behind, we need to concentrate on service providers rather than creating more burdensome administration units!
People do not need districts, what they want are adequate quality services and these can be provided with the existing or even fewer administrative units.l
Michael Aboneka,