By Felix Oketcho

Civil Society Organizations under their umbrella (CSBAG) have applauded President Yoweri Museveni for scrapping off several agencies saying this will improve service delivery and reduce wastage of tax payer’s money.

They also demand that the president further reduces number of ministries and presidential advisors to cut public expenditures.

They also advised government to develop a road map for proper rationalization of government Agencies, Commissions and Authorities.

On Monday September 10, 2018, cabinet resolved to rationalize government Agencies, Commissions and Authorities, as a way of downsizing the civil service, reducing duplication and eliminating ambiguities and wasteful expenditure by the government.

CSBAG Executive Director Julius Mukunda said, “We want government to set up a rationalization taskforce made up of relevant bodies to oversee the implementation of the rationalization process,”

Under the roadmap, CSOs want the government to identify particular Agencies, Commissions and Authorities, it intends to start with in the rationalization process, and also indicate the timelines for the entire process.

“Out of the 69 plus Agencies, Commissions, Authorities and boards to be rationalized, which ones will the government start with and for how long? Government should provide a roadmap with clear timelines detailing the activities to be undertaken in rationalizing the agencies, commissions and authorities,” Mukunda told the media on Wednesday.

The CSOs, want the taskforce, to be given clear terms of reference and provide monthly updates to the public on the implementation of the road map. “This rationalization process, is purely a technical one, politics should not stand in its way. We need someone technical to be in charge of this process and it should start immediately; like next financial year,” Mukunda said.

Although CSOs welcomed idea of merging agencies they said over restructuring and merging of some agencies will do more harm than good.

Mukunda noted that over the last four years, CSOs have been pushing for the merging of government Agencies, Commissions and Authorities to avoid wastage of public resources through what they described as mushrooming agencies.

Statistics by CSBAG indicate that for the last three years, during financial years FY2017/18, 2016/17 and 2015/16, the government has lost UGX 2.293 trillion in wage and non-wage to the agencies proposed to be dropped.

Speaking during the same media briefing Executive Director of the Africa Leadership Institute, David Pulkol implored Parliament to support the rationalization process and also engage civil society on how best the process can be implemented. “This is a welcome move by the government, when the economy is not doing well, taking austerity measures is the right thing to do,” Pulkol said.

To save more public resources, the CSOs challenged the President to consider reducing the number of ministers, scrapping of the post of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Removal of government and presidential advisors and downsizing of districts, municipal and town councils.