By Cyprian Musoke
OFFICIALS from National Planning Authority (NPA), the body charged with planning for the country are ‘stressed and overworked’ due to few staff, coupled with a huge work load amid tight deadlines.
Appearing before the Finance Committee to defend their budget on Tuesday, the Authority Chairman Kisamba Mugerwa said part of the causes is inadequate funding to enable them recruit enough staff.
“During formation we forwarded to the ministry of finance our strategic plan and staff required if we are to deliver. At optimum capacity we need 119 staff which requires about sh10b. We have until now been receiving sh4.6b, which supports only 58% staff capacity,” he said.
Reading from the NPA budget, the MPs had wondered why staffing levels since formation of the Authority still remained at 58%, and whether they were operating optimally.
Kisamba replied; “As long as we are denied the money to recruit staff we remain incapacitated. You (MPs) should infact congratulate us for delivering under these strenuous circumstances and I want to inform you that we are stressed and overworked,” he said.
He added that they are saddled with arrears of emoluments to members of the National Governing Council, and subscription to the international parent body in South Africa.
The NPA Executive Director Dr Joseph Muvawala said; “When we took over NPA management we knew it was going to be a tough job but we strived on. Given the resources we have been given we can’t be 100% effective as we wished but we simply wade through,” he said.
He said there are many functions that were given to the body at formation that are not being done due to scarcity of resources, backing his Chairman that this has overtime caused them stress.
“With such money (Sh21b) we end up bringing here report with findings that you challenge,” he said.
This forced the MPs Odo Tayebwa (Ishaka), Mathias Nsubuga (Bukoto South), and Amos Mandera (Kooko) to turn the heat on Finance minister in charge of Planning Matia Kasaija, asking him why the budget of a body set up by an Act of Parliament should still be dictated upon by the parent Finance ministry.
Kasaija confessed “being between a rock and a hard place”, being the parent minister for NPA, but working within an overall ministry limited resource envelope.
Committee Chairman Robert Sebunya came to his rescue when he reminded the NPA officials that they set themselves huge salaries, leaving little else for more staff to be recruited.
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Planning Authority understaffed - Mugerwa