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Csos urge govt to address staffing gaps in local government

By Wilson Manishimwe

Added 23rd September 2019 12:42 PM

According to CSOs, although staffing gaps have been in existence before, the challenge was worsened with the recent creation of new administrative units by Government.

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Participants at the conference (Photo by Wilson Manishimwe)

According to CSOs, although staffing gaps have been in existence before, the challenge was worsened with the recent creation of new administrative units by Government.

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have asked the Government to address worrying levels of staffing gaps in Local Governments which they said has affected service delivery in different sectors of the economy.

CSOs made the remarks during the Local Government Budget Consultative Conference that took place in Fort Portal.

Organised by the finance ministry, the event was attended by district chairpersons, Resident District Commissioners, Chief Administrative Officers among other dignitaries.

According to CSOs, although staffing gaps have been in existence before, the challenge was worsened with the recent creation of new administrative units by Government.

“Newly created Kikuube district has operated for two financial years without key staff in different departments. Creation of the new administrative units has greatly affected the human resource of Kyenjojo district as a whole, whereby most staff in the new units are not substantive,” said Executive Director Rwenzori Anticorruption Coalition (RAC) Angela Byangwa.

Byangwa said in Kyamutunzi Town Council,  staff report for duty once a week, attributing it to the fact that most of them are acting in other administrative units.

“A case in point is the Kyamutunzi sub-accountant who is serving in three administrative units. Karama Primary School for two years had no Headteacher while Mbegu Primary School in Hoima district has a male teacher acting as a senior woman teacher,” said Byangwa.

Siraj Magara, a Budget Policy Specialist at Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group said besides staffing gaps, there is a challenge of low infrastructure in social sectors like schools and health centers which should be addressed.

“Staffing gaps have perpetually existed in all Local Governments. However, going forward we think that key areas like education and health should have staff put in place,” he stated.

He added: “There are children studying under trees, makeshift structures and we hope this coming budget will address the issue.”

What Local Government ministry says?

The Assistant Commissioner district administration in the Ministry of Local Government Emmanuel Tugabiirwe told journalists that recruitment rate at Local Government level stands at an average of 55%.

However, he said, more recruitment will be done gradually.

 “Sometimes funds are not readily available to recruit 100% staff, however, we want the Local Government recruitment to be at 65% in the next three years, from the current 50%-55%.  In the meantime, there some positions that can’t be left out; they include heads of departments, sub-county and Parish chiefs,” he stated.

‘Accounting Officers blamed’

Tugabiirwe said: “Sometimes Local Governments fail to meet deadlines for submitting their recruitment plans. For example, like now, if an accounting officer submits recruitment plans by December, they may not be approved.”

 He warned accounting officers against late submission.

Chief Administrative Officer’s view

Anselm Kyaligonza, the Ntoroko District Chief Administrative Officer stunned the participants when he said his district is only at 29% recruitment, citing failure by Ministry of Public Service to approve his recruitment plans.

“We have been submitting recruitment plans every year, but every time we do it, we don’t get response from the Ministry of Public Service. This time, I will make sure that we get a positive response on recruitment from the ministry,” he stated.

When asked to comment about Ntoroko case, Tugabiirwe said some districts are hard to reach and, in most cases, even when they advertise, they don’t get people to fill those posts.

“There are some districts that Government describes as hard to reach, hard to work and hard to stay; that could be the reason why Ntoroko is in that situation,” he said.

 

 

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