Members of Parliament have raised a red flag over continued degeneration of public service in the country, owing to the absence of a well-facilitated institution to train public servants for better service delivery.
The matter came up on Wednesday in Parliament as members of the parliamentary committee on Public Service & Local Government received a presentation from the Ministry of Public Service, which indicated diminishing performance among government workers, a trend that reflects deteriorating service delivery.
Public Service minister Mululi Mukasa who led the delegation attributed the shortfalls in performance and failure to hit service output targets to inadequate funding, failure to capture data for assessment, and other factors. In the financial year 2022/2023, UGX30BN had been approved for Public Service ministry but 25.9BN was released leaving the entity to suffer a shortfall of about UGX4BN.
The funding gap aside, committee chairman Hon. Martin Ojara Mapenduzi and members expressed concern over poor quality service among public servants which they attributed to the unutilized Civil Service Institute in Jinja where government officials are supposed to acquire specialized training in order to improve service delivery.
Commissioned by President Yoweri Museveni in 2014, the Civil Service College Uganda (CSCU) is responsible for in-service training, strengthening public policy research, providing advisory services and supporting innovations for improved service delivery. It’s mandate is to build the capacities of Public Service institutions and human resources for improved performance in public service delivery.
Hon. Mululi Mukasa said the institution has not been facilitated to operate fully as it has constantly grappling with inadequate funding. He said the CSC also lacks accommodation infrastructure which makes it difficult to host students -literally meaning that for those who go there, the training sessions are either shortened or waived.
The members highlighted the plight of the country’s public service after government opted to let go of Institutions like Uganda Management Institute (UMA) which once offered such services before it diversified it’s services to academics. They also noted that National Leadership Institute (NALI) in Kamkwanzi cannot offer the country’s public service training needs.
“If you now see the quality of Public officers it is wanting. In-service training has been ignored and public officials no longer go for induction. We think the Civil Service College would be the ideal institution that should help the country improve performance of public officials to ensure improved service delivery” Hon Isaac Modoi (Lutseshe county) noted.
The Ministry’s annual performance output indicators in the assessment report for the year ending June 2023, showed that most departments performed bellow average against the targets which were set for the Financial year 2022/2023. Overall, the Ministry’s performance was at 37.1 per cent, with 9.8 percent of entities left out during assessment.
At departmental level, for instance; Public Service inspection was achieved at only 20.0 percent, Records and Information Management at 18.8 percent, Research & Standards 0.0 percent, Human Resource Management Systems at 33.0 percent, Civil Service College at 25.0 percent, Policy and Planning achieving 50 percent of the targets. However, indicators on Finance & administration, Human Resource Development both at 63.0 percent, and Institutional Assessment achieved up to 75.0 percent.
Hon. Mapenduzi recalled that since 2021 elections, the local government ministry have been asking for 25BN for induction training for local leaders in vain, yet above 75 percent of the leaders are new in office and necessitated induction trainings to acquire knowledge of how to do their jobs.
During the interactions, Minister Mululi Mukasa proposed a strategy to have all the funds appropriated to various agencies for training be channelled to The Civil Service College such that all training needs for government officials are centralized. He argued that this will facilitate the college deliver up to it’s mandate.
The committee chairman however guided that owing to the gravity of the matter, the committee will appoint time dedicated to deliberations relating to the national Civil Service College and how it’s services can be improved.