Local Government Leaderships have been cautioned against lukewarm Service Delivery and compromising on standards by giving excuses of limited resources. These caution was sounded by the State Minister for Public Service, Hon. David Karubanga while on a High Level Inspection and Monitoring activity of the Districts of Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Kabalore, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo, Kasese, Bunyangabu and Kanungu from 16th– 20thApril 2018.
The Inspection activity is a Joint exercise carried out by both the Political Leadership and the Technical staff of Ministry of Public Service during which the Ministry seeks to interface with the Local Government Leadership and the technical staff to share challenges faced in Service Delivery.
Despite challenges that range from inadequate funds and low levels of staffing that currently on average is at 56% in most Local governments, there is need to develop and adhere to client charters which explicitly specify the services offered and how they are offered including time lines in the service delivery. They empower the populace to demand for services that they need.
The State Minister Hon. Karubanga observed that there was non-adherence to standards in offering some services especially in Ntoroko District where a new Administration Block had been constructed on 2015 but had already developed severe cracks pointing to abuse and diversion of funds.
A number of infrastructural developments were noted during the visit like the ongoing construction of a new Administrative Block for Kasese District Local Government. The project is estimated to cost approximately UGX 3Bn on completion.
During the various meetings with the different District Leaderships and the technical staff, issued on salary enhancement came up and the State Minister dismissed information that had been spread over the media that the Pay Policy was about science and Arts employees. He emphasized the fact that the pay policy had been approved by cabinet and was going to be implemented in a phased manner for a period of five (5) years. In the first phase which is being implemented in FY 2018/2019, the categories of Medical Workers, Other Scientists, the Judiciary workers, and the lower rank personnel in the armed forces of UPDF, Police and Prisons had been considered while all the others were earmarked for consideration in the next FY 2019/2020. The reason for the phasing is financial constraints. It is hoped that by FY 2020/2021, salaries for all employees will have been enhanced and harmonized as well as elimination of any pay disparities across the Uganda Public Service.
Some Local Governments were commended being innovative by creating effective means of accountability to the populace especially Kyegegwa District which had started a Community Radio Station as a platform for information dissemination, sharing and interaction on Government Programmes.
The Director for Human Resource Management, Mrs. Adah K. Muwanga reiterated to the Local Government Leaderships the need to implement the Circular Standing Instruction issued by the Ministry of Public Service on absenteeism which is a major challenge in many of the Local Governments. She reassured them of the strategies to improve and upgrade the Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS) to be able address the current system challenges. This is expected to also lead to full decentralization of Active Payroll and Pension processing.
The District chairpersons appreciated Government for the support rendered to their respective Local Governments though they highlighted some areas that still needed support. Mr. Richard Rwabuhinga the chairperson for Kabarole District thanked Government for the support towards the Primary Education Sub sector whose staffing levels had risen to 94% but made an outcry on the inadequate wage allocation for recruitment of critical traditional staff. Another challenge they highlighted was the partial decentralizing the Secondary Education subsector where the deployments are some from the centre and in most incidences not considering the available wage in the respective Local Governments hence affecting the Service Delivery.
Rwabuhinga also called for a coordination among the Ministry of Finance, Planning an Economic Development, (MOFPED), Ministry of Local Government (MOLG) and Ministry of Public Service (MoPS) on the issuance of guidance and directives on recruitment if service delivery is to improve.