The Cabinet of Uganda has given a green light to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to move parliament to allow the budgetary funds meant for the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to go through the Ministry of Energy as the new mother ministry for the agency, The Ugandan Wire has established.
“Cabinet sitting on Monday, August 9th, 2021 at State House in Entebbe authorized the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to seek a parliamentary resolution to reallocate the appropriated funds for Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to the new vote where it has been transferred,” Godfrey Kabyanga, the State Minister for ICT in charge of National Guidance told The Ugandan Wire.
As a result of the development, REA will now become a department under the Ministry of Energy unlike before when it was autonomous with its own budget. All the funds meant for REA will now got to the Ministry of Energy and REA will move with its entire staff to the ministry.
The Rural Electrification Agency is mandated with extending electricity to rural areas in the country in line with the Rural Electrification Strategy and Plan.
Government recently reviewed 157 entities in a bid several ministries, agencies and departments are merged as one of the ways to reduce on expenditure.
The move will see 61 agencies retained whereas at least 33 other entities incorporated back to their parent ministries. The merging and reorganization will be done in a phased manner for a period of three years.
Government recently said the move will save Shs 988Bn that they have been spending on some of the irrelevant departments and agencies that had their own budgets.
“When completed, the proposed reorganization of government entities will save government up to Shs 988 billion while at the same time increasing efficiency,” former Minister for ICT and National Guidance , Judith Nabakooba said earlier this year.
The move to have a reorganization of government agencies, ministries and departments was moved by President Museveni’s request to the Internal Security Organisation to investigate how much agencies are costing government and how the same could be done away with.
The November 17, 2017 Report by ISO indicated that government agencies like KCCA and UNRA were spending more money on fuel, foreign travel, consultancies and salaries of their employees when compared to government ministries.
The report also indicated that these agencies spend more on workshops, employ fewer people and spend a lot of money on advertisements compared to mainstream public service ministries.
According to the report, agencies generally spend a lot of money on salaries of the employees when compared with the mainstream public services.
For instance, for financial year 2016/17, Makerere University spent Shs 128 billion on salaries, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA spent Shs 112 billion while KCCA spent Shs 98 billion. At Shs 7 billion, The National Planning Authority spent the lowest sum on salaries amongst government agencies.
However, in mainstream public service which is dominated by ministries, the highest spender on salaries was the ministry of defence which used 410 billion on salaries.
Parliament spent Shs 86 billion on salaries while the office of the prime minister spent 48 billion. Comparatively therefore agencies spent more on salaries than government ministries.
In total, the report notes that Uganda’s entire wage bill for 2016/17 financial year was 3.36 trillion.