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‘Prioritise RDCs’ office accommodation’

Officials from the Office of the President appearing before PAC(Central).

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Parliament have beseeched the Office of the President to prioritise the construction of office accommodation for Resident District Commissioners (RDCs).

This arose from the Auditor General’s report for the Financial Year 2020/2021 which revealed that out of the 146 RDCs, only 107 have space rented by the Presidency while 15 are accommodated in government-built offices and 24 RDCs lack offices.

While appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (Central) on Tuesday, 10 January 2023 to respond to the audit queries, the technical team said the presidency has developed a strategy to construct offices for RDCs.

“The office devised a two-pronged strategy combining aspects of constructing offices for RDCs in a phased manner and also engaging host local governments to accommodate the field officers on newly constructed administration blocks in the districts,” Emmanuel Walani, the Undersecretary said.

However, the delays to construct these offices have been attributed to insufficient releases from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

“Whereas the idea to construct seven RDC offices per annum was envisioned in 2010/2011, this was only implemented for one financial year. In the subsequent financial years, the Ministry of Finance reduced the construction budget by 71 per cent per financial year,” Walani said.

As a result of the budgetary constraints, the President’s Office has been forced to construct only one RDC office per annum and to rent office space, which according to the Auditor General’s report is unsustainable.

In 2020/ 2021, government spent Shs445 million on rent for RDCs’ offices.

The Office of the President, however, disagreed with the Auditor General’s report saying the presidency pays rent for only 41 RDCs, while 33 are housed in government-built offices and 72 are housed by district local governments.

The Committee’s Vice Chairperson, Asuman Basalirwa said the welfare of RDCs should be treated as a priority and urged the President’s Office to address the challenge of office space as raised by the Auditor General.

Yovan Adriko, Vurra County MP said the Office of the President should equally prioritise the purchase of vehicles for RDCs saying it affects mobility and emergency response.

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