Cabinet okays 30 Bills to merge govt agencies

President Museveni. PHOTO/FRANK BAGUMA

What you need to know:

  • The idea was first mooted in 2018 to cut public expenditure.

A special Cabinet sitting last Thursday agreed to present to Parliament tomorrow more than 30 Bills to merge different government agencies, commissions, and authorities.

Vice President Jessica Alupo chaired the special Cabinet session at State House, Entebbe.
 Mr Godfrey Kabyanga, the minister of State for Information and National Guidance, yesterday said since the Acts of Parliament established the agencies, the same Acts would have to be repealed.

“At first we presented an omnibus Bill, but now we are going to present them according to sectors so that the parliamentary committees of different sectors can debate them and look at their merits and demerits,” he said.

Mr Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the chairperson of the parliamentary Public Service and Local Government Committee, had earlier said, “A total of 2,170 staff jobs would be abolished as a result of the merger of public agencies and public service expenditures.”

He said this would be in addition to 102 positions of directors and commissioners to be phased out in the merger.

But Mr Kabyanga said the actual number of jobs to be lost is likely to reduce since new ones will also be created during the merger.

“The Ministry of Public Service looked at the jobs that will be phased out but there are jobs that will be created as well. After we have discussed all the Bills, we shall also look at the net loss or net gain of jobs. But most importantly, we are looking at the cost of administration, “he added.

Last Friday, the ruling National Resistance Movement party Parliamentary Caucus, chaired by President Museveni, agreed to support the merger process to save the government at least Shs1 trillion. The caucus also unanimously agreed to support the merger of government agencies and public expenditure through the enactment of the legislation in Parliament.

Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the government spokesperson, said in an interview last Friday that they were approving the Bills to give a nod to the merger process of government agencies.
 “They are not strange laws, but just laws to either repeal or amend those which create those institutions, and government agencies,” he said.

Among government agencies, commissions, and authorities to be affected are the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), and the Health Service Commission (HSC).

“We considered all the government parastatals, some are supposed to be taken back to their mother ministries, while others are going to be merged, Dr Baryomunsi said.

The Parliament’s Public Service and Local Government Committee said the government would require more Shs79.3 billion in the financial year 2024/2025 to compensate those workers whose jobs would be abolished.

Mr Mapenduzi said the recommendation stemmed from a request for funds by the Ministry of Public Service, which sought to merge several government agencies and parastatals to ensure efficiency.

During an end-of-year get-together and team-building party of the Ministry of Public early this year, Ms Catherine Bitarakwate, the Permanent Secretary, said the government continues to suffer several human resource gaps within the public sector.

“One of them is that during the beginning of this financial year, we put a halt to recruitment so that the Office of the Auditor General could undertake a comprehensive payroll audit. This is the report that has been just concluded and submitted to Parliament on January 9, 2024, and we are in the process of discussing it so that we can inform the government about the next policy directive,” she said.

The process of merger of government agencies, commissions, and authorities started way back in 2018, with Cabinet setting up in May 2021, a team that reviewed 157 entities and came up with recommendations on how to make them more responsive to service delivery.

Govt agencies and departments to be merged

Merged Entity----Parent Ministry 

  • Non-Performing Assets Recovery Trust, the Board of Trustees and the Sinking Fund- Back to Ministry of Finance
  • Karamoja Development Agency- Back to Ministry of Karamoja Affairs 
  • Uganda Registration Services Bureau, National Identification Registration Authority, Uganda  Non-Governmental Registration Board- To be consolidated under one agency
  • Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority- To be mainstreamed as a department in the Ministry of Trade 
  • National Information Technology Authority- ICT and National Guidance
  • National Forestry Authority, Uganda National Meteorological Authority- To be directorates within the Ministry of Water and Environment
  • Departed Asians’ Property Custodian Board, Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority- Back to Ministry of Ministry of Finance
  • Privatisation Unit, Uganda Investment Authority, Enterprise Uganda, Uganda Export Promotions Board, Uganda Free zones Authority- To be merged into one entity
  • Uganda National Commission for UNESCO- Ministry of Education
  • Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre, Uganda Tourism Board and Uganda Wildlife Authority- To be merged into one entity
  • National Roads Safety Board, Transport Licensing Board, Uganda Road- To become departments within the Ministry of Works and Transport
  • National Agricultural Advisory Services, Uganda Tryponosomiasis Control Council, Uganda       Cotton Development Organisation, Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Diary Development Authority- To be departments within the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.
  • Children Authority, National Council for Persons with Disabilities, National Women’s Council,   National Youth Council, National Council for Older Persons- To merged under one entity within the Ministry of Gender
  • Centre for Arbitration and Dispute Resolution- Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
  • Uganda Free Zones Authority and the Uganda Export Promotions Board merged into one     entity called the Uganda Free Zones and Export Promotions Authority- Ministry of Trade
  • Uganda Allied Health Examinations Board, Uganda Nurses and Midwifery Examinations Board- To be merged into one
  • Uganda Nurses and Midwifery Council, Allied Health Professional Council, Medical and    Dental Practitioners Council- To be merged into one council
  • Population Secretariat, Metropolitan Physical Planning Authority, National Physical Planning Board, National Planning Authority- To be merged together
  • Public Service Commission, Health Service Commission, Education Service Commission- To be merged into one service commission 
  • Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited, Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited- To be consolidated into one company
  • Rural Electricity Agency- To go back to Ministry of Energy as a department
  • Amnesty Commission, National Citizenship and Immigration Control- To be made departments under Ministry of Internal Affairs
  • Centre for Alternative Disputes, Law Reform Commission, Electricity Disputes Tribunal- To be consolidated into one entity under the Ministry of Justice.
  • Students Financing Board, National Library of Uganda- To be sent back in the Ministry of Education and Sports