A section of Members of Parliament played a pivotal role towards influencing the scrapping and merging of Allen Kagina’s Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).
Reports indicate that cabinet last week resolved on the process of scrapping, downsizing and merging government agencies and Authorities and among the big giants that have been affected include UNRA which has been merged under Ministry of Works and Transport (MOWT). Others include; National Medical Stores and National Drug Authority which will now be under Ministry of Health, Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB) and National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) will be under Ministry of Internal Affairs while National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) will be under Education ministry.
Whereas the Roads’ body Executive Director, Kagina says she has not yet received an official communication to that effect, she has called for calm and committement from her staff.
“Good evening colleagues, many of you will have by now heard unofficial information on social media to the effect that UNRA will be disbanded and the work of road development and maintenance revert to MOWT. We have not received any official information to this effect. I urge you to please remain committed as you always have been to your assignments connecting Uganda,” Kagina said in a Friday email which has been sent all staff.
HOW UNRA DOWNFALL WAS PLOTTED
In August 2017, President Yoweri Museveni ordered Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda in a letter to carry out a review of the public service by merging government agencies and authorities in a bid to avoid wastage of meagre resources.
“Why have an agency when you have a department of government dealing with the same area of responsibility? Why have an Authority when you have department of government dealing with the same area of responsibility? Why have Boards for money-consuming units rather than money generating units?” Museveni’s letter reads.
This followed a report from Internal Security Organization (ISO) that was conducted between July and November 2017 that found out that the agencies were wasteful.
Indeed, as soon as the ISO report was released, a section of NRM MPs immediately called for a press conference on December 08, 2017 where they gave government a 30-day ultimatum to carry out the scrapping and merging of the MDAs. During the press conference that was attended by Solomon Silwanyi, MP Bukhooli Central, Ngora County MP David Abala, Julie Mukoda, the Woman MP Mayuge and Herbert Kinobere, MP for Kibuku, the MPs called for urgent review of all the 119 agencies.
In particular, the MPs singled out Kagina’s UNRA for being the most extravagant and should be scrapped immediately.
“By now Kagina should be packing her luggage because UNRA is the most extravagant agency, they use tax payer’s money for outings, dance halls, taking girlfriends on trips , in fact UNRA is the worst spender on entertainment according to last year’s budget,” Silwanyi is quoted saying during the presser. He added that UNRA spent a tune of Shs190 billion on entertainment in 2016/17 Budget and that the “authority should be restructured back to the ministry of works for the minister to be in charge.”
During the same presser, MP Abala, stated that some organizations have failed Government evidenced through corruption. He added that it’s also unfortunate that some of the Agencies earn millions of money amidst the challenges of Uganda.
MP Mukoda said that the agencies in total spent Shs151bn in FY 2016/17 for fuel only in one year. She said with the terrible services in the country, the duplication of works and services should be stopped.
MP Kinobere urged that there is no coordination in the mother ministries and departments that fall under them. He said that in many cases the departments and agencies are getting more finances than ministries, and this is crippling services in the country.
He added that merging the facilities, will lead to a better service since everything will be streamlined. The legislators vowed to come up with a private members bill to force this move if cabinet takes long to do so.