Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament’s Committee on Natural Resources has questioned government’s readiness to implement the rationalisation of government agencies, which has resulted into layoffs and petitions from affected workers.
Led by the Chairperson, Hon. Emmanuel Otaala, the committee put to task the Public Service Minister, Hon. Wilson Muruli Mukasa and his Energy counterpart Hon. Peter Lokeris over the closure of the Rural Electrification Agency, which has seen some former staff absorbed into the mainstream ministry while others have since been laid off.
Lokeris said the staff were absorbed subject to a statutory instrument, which he said indicated that they would be employed with their emoluments for a period not exceeding two years.
He said the agency was condensed into a department in the ministry and that the new positions were internally advertised, with priority being given to the former staff. He added that that a ‘golden handshake’ will be extended to those who have been declared redundant.
“A total number of 34 Government of Uganda staff who were not absorbed have been paid all their benefits that is gratuity, accrued leave and baggage allowance. Of the 34, only four were rendered redundant and payment of their three months in lieu of notice and ‘golden handshake’ processed,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Irene Bateebe said the petitioning individuals were not recruited due to personal suitability reasons.
“…the reason why some staff were not recommended are specific to individuals, based on the critical areas considered by the committee [that looked into the possibility of absorbing the affected staff into the mainstream ministry],” she said.
Otaala questioned the entire idea of the rationalisation asking for evidence to prove it has been cost prudent.
“We want you to tell us whether the rationalisation of Rural Electrification Agency under the Ministry of Energy has added any value; show us that money has been saved as a result of the rationalisation,” he said.
Muruli Mukasa was hopeful that the exercise will turn out cost friendly to the tax payer.
“I can assure you, there will be serious cost saving when the exercise is over; on Rural Electrification Agency alone, we will be having 107 staff from 190. This is not an exercise in the wilderness, it is an exercise that will bring down the cost of government,” he said.
Government has been on a start stop with the plans to bring all proliferating agencies under the ministries, to cut costs and improve efficiency, but affected employees are not happy with the way their erstwhile employers are handling their retirement.
Eddie Kwizera (NRM, Bukimbiri County) condemned the exercise, and asked government to be fair to exiting staff.
Former staff of REA have petitioned the committee citing unfair termination of their contracts.
SOURCE: Parliament Media