Understaffing in Local Gov’ts Hindering Service Delivery-CSBAG

The Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) has appealed to the Ministry of Finance to allocate adequate funds for wages to enable Local Governments to recruit and fill vacant positions.

According to CSBAG, understaffing and failure to fill critical positions in Local Governments such as heads of Departments are one of the major factors hindering quality and timely service delivery.

Patrick Rubangakene, an economist at CSBAG told Parliament’s committee on Public Service and Local Government, that as of September 2022, the status of filled positions for the critical Head of Departments positions in district Local Governments stood at 60 percent and 62 percent in the Municipal Councils on average.

“These further increases challenges relating to the functionality of District Service Commissions, delays in disbursement of funds for recruitment, and centralized recruitment of secondary teachers,” he said. 

Rubangakene was presenting the CSBAG position paper on regional development in response to the proposed National Budget Framework Paper for the next financial year 2023/2024. 

CSBAG recommended that the Ministry of Finance and that of Public Service need to provide an adequate wage ceiling to enable Local Governments to recruit. They also recommended that the Ministry of Education should consider decentralizing recruitment of secondary teachers to Local Governments, as this will enable them timely recruit and post them.

CSBAG also questioned delays in the rationalization of government agencies as a measure to reduce high public expenditures and duplication of functions by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.

In 2018, the government undertook a reform to rationalize its agencies and public expenditure with a view of eliminating structure ambiguities, functional duplications and overlaps, wasteful expenditures, and realizing savings that could be used to facilitate other critical public services.

To date, only the Ministry of Science and Technology has been dissolved while the Rural Electrification Agency has been transferred to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.

According to the cabinet decision, the government is supposed to merge and transfer the functions of 77 agencies.

CSBAG asked parliament to request the Ministry of Public Service for their strategy to fast-track the rationalization process.

The committee said that CSBAG proposals will help address gaps in the budget estimates for Local Governments.

Godfrey Onzima, the committee chairperson also asked the budget advocacy group to sensitize the public on their right to demand good service delivery and accountability.

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