Latest govt jobs vacant (40,000) a report by AG Uganda
Latest govt jobs vacant, a report by AG found out at least 40,000 government jobs in 19 selected entities are vacant even as unemployment and poor service delivery persist in the country according to
the 2017 Auditor General’s (AG) review of the approved staffing structures, seven ministries and 12 statutory enterprises assessed that Uganda Police Force has a staffing shortage of 28,791, followed by Uganda Prison Services with 6,324 unfilled jobs, while the Judiciary has 2,864 unfilled slots.
Latest govt jobs vacant among them are Agriculture (327), Justice (177), Kampala Capital City Authority with a staffing gap of 189, the Department of Ethics and Integrity (69), Health Service Commission (32), while the Finance ministry has 20 unfilled slots.
The AG cited that whereas the planned number of staff to be recruited at district level at municipality and sub-county levels were 5,000, by close of the financial year under review (2016/17), the number of positions filled was only 2,760, leaving a staffing gap of 2,240.
The current extension-to-farmer ratio under the single spine agriculture extension system is 1:1800, which is substantially lower than the recommended ration of 1:500.
Out of 118 health facilities inspected by AG staff, 98 (representing 83 per cent), were experiencing high rates of understaffing ranging from 80 per cent in Kalisizo Hospital in Rakai District to 9 per cent in Iganga Hospital. And in 38 districts and municipal councils, the understaffing included critical positions in medicine management.
The AG found that selected 12 commissions, statutory authorities and state enterprises had nearly 500 vacant positions, including key positions such as commissioners, assistant commissioners, principal officers and managers. This, according to the AG, could have been caused by inadequate funds and budget ceiling.
Some of the affected institutions are Diary Development Authority, Uganda Retirements Benefits Regulatory Authority and Uganda Registration Services Bureau.
The details are contained in the AG report handed over to the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, on Friday.
The Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, however, blamed the government’s failure to fill latest govt jobs vacancies on the rising population and “the choice to expand government” through the creation of districts, counties and municipalities.
Mr Muhakanizi told Sunday Monitor at the weekend that “it is not a question of blame game, but a question of prioritisation and pressures of expanding government”.
“Blaming Finance for these things is wrong, we are not the policymakers, we are not the ones who made a choice to expand government,” Mr Muhakanizi said.
“The government priorities over the past few years have been to deal with infrastructure challenges, put money into wealth creation initiatives and finance free education. This is the reason we have not been able to fill the latest govt jobs vacancies you are talking about,” he added.
Explaining how the government intends to fix the service delivery gaps without the necessary human resource, Mr Muhakanizi said: “I have recommended to policymakers to stop expanding government for at least five years to enable us fill the latest govt jobs vacant positions and fix all the gaps in the service delivery chain.”
Understaffing, according to the AG, Mr John Muwanga, “overstretches the available staff beyond their capacity, creates job-related stress to the fewer staff and negatively affects the level of public service delivery to the community.”
Speaking to Sunday Monitor, Mr Muwanga requested Parliament and Cabinet to pay attention to what he called “a persistent problem to service delivery” and further explained that “Inadequate staffing affects the timely implementation of entity activities as it may adversely impact on the entities in the achievement of its strategic objectives.”
Among the districts, the AG found a problem in at least 83 of them, with acute understaffing levels ranging from 7 per cent in Mpigi to 77 per cent in Kapchorwa and Mubende Districts.
The AG report, however, comes barely three years after this newspaper investigated this problem and found that 32,746 public service job slots in the various government institutions were vacant.
Although not all entities have ghosts on their payrolls, in 2015 Mr Muhakanizi told this newspaper that he was reluctant to provide funds to fill the vacant positions in the critical areas of service delivery, because of “a dirty system” that needs cleaning.
Mr Muhakanizi also accused agencies, who he did not name, of mismanaging funds for recruitment on account of ghosts and corruption on the payroll.
Other findings in 2017 Auditor General’s report
The 2017 Auditor General’s report to Parliament has also revealed widespread misuse of public funds through unchecked weak financial control systems; failure to absorb billions of shillings meant for various activities in the financial year under review.
Weak financial controls have resulted in accumulation of unsupported domestic arrears to a tune of Shs27.7b.
There was no documentary evidence to confirm the delivery of goods or services in a number of cases the AG observed. This amount is contained in the Consolidated Financial Statements comprising of payables of Shs2.2 trillion and a pension liability of Shs623,4b.
In another query, all the 14 municipal councils (MCs) in the country failed to absorb their Municipal Development Grants (MDG) and Capacity Building Grants to a tune of Shs125.6b, and this comprised grants received during the year amounting to Shs100.6b and unspent balances brought forward from the prior year amounting to Shs25.2b.
Notable among the poor performing MCs were Mbarara, Hoima, Fort Portal and Jinja, which failed to even utilise funds brought forward from the previous year.
The various districts, however, attributed the under-absorption of funds to delays in the procurement process, delayed execution of works by some contractors and delayed submission of certificates by contractors after completion of works. Parliament is expected to investigate this issue with a view of punishing the culprits.
The AG also noted that unsettled court awards and compensations amounts to Shs676.8b. The bill has accumulated over the last five financial years from Shs54b in 2011/2012 to Shs676.82b in 2016/17. The accrued interest stands at Shs168b worth of wasteful expenditure, and in certain cases, the interest had more than doubled the principal amounts.
In 76 per cent of districts and municipal councils, the AG found that Shs4.5b meant for procurement of medicines and other heath related activities was not properly accounted for. Unaccounted for medicines and Health supplies, according to the AG, may lead to rampant medicine stock-outs, which hampers service delivery. There were also cases of expired medicines and health supplies in 40 hospitals across the country.
And from a sample of 20 ministries and agencies, the AG noted that six entities sent a total of Shs274.5b worth of public funds to unnamed commercial banks outside the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS).
Under the circumstances, he warns that such transactions are susceptible to abuse through diversion of public funds.
The AG also noted that although pension and gratuity was decentralized with arrears amounting to Shs199b which were disaggregated by votes and transferred to the Finance ministry, to date only Shs7.4b of Shs199b had been paid to 1,238 pensioners from 26 votes.
source: Daily Monitor