By Moses Kaketo
Speaking recently at a Workshop at Hotel Triangle in Kampala, Makerere University don, Prof. Augustus Nuwagaba was quoted as having said that Uganda needs to do something urgently otherwise, Uganda may start receiving aid and donations from Rwanda. A country only a few years ago was far below Uganda in nearly all aspects, not anymore.
So, where is the problem? What went wrong?
Our good Ministers: Looks like in Uganda, when you’re appointed minister, you wash your hands. Otherwise, there are no performance targets for you. This goes down to the lowest officers in the ministries. Ask any minister whether S/he has performance targets and indicators- the answer is a No. Beyond the Ministries, government Agencies, departments also lack KPI. In most cases, loyalty to the minister is taken as a top KPI. In the circumstance, we are not moving as faster as we could have been if our leaders had targets and someone to follow up on these targets.
April 2017, president Kagame said after firing RwandAir CEO John Mirenge : ‘‘Rwandans have given me the mandate to manage the country in their best interest. If I believe that a CEO appointed by the Cabinet is failing to achieve results I expect from him within an agreed upon time frame and that the return on investment is not at the right level, then I have the right and the duty to replace him.’’
We are yet to have CEO, head of government agency, department in Uganda sacked on performance grounds.
We are wasteful
You need to be on Entebbe Road on a Friday for you to appreciate this. Landcruiser’s follow every other as the 80 ministers [ Uganda has 81 ministers and State ministers] dash for cabinet meeting in Entebbe. These are not your ordinary Landcruiser’s.
In Rwanda [ Africa’s emerging economy] and Kenya, East Africa’s economic powerhouse and potential contender to displace the continent’s economic giants South Africa, Nigeria, a minister is not supposed to drive a car beyond 3,000cc. In Uganda, our good ministers drive Landcruiser’s [ brand] above 4000cc-courtesy of tax payer’s money.
Sources say, In Rwanda, a minister is given ordinary car, Landcruiser not beyond 3000cc. A minister who wants a better car, the government gives them loans.
Last month, Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, organized: a highly attended Economic Growth Forum on the Theme: Accelerated and inclusive growth for Sustainable development.
More than half of those who attended the conference where scholars, academicians, economic experts from Europe teaching local [experts]Ugandans on how to revamp their economy. Foreign experts lecturing local experts the problems they are facing and what they need to do to move forward, really? Government is said to have wasted millions on these ‘experts’. Welcome to banana republic.
A story is told of government official who, upon her appointment as State Minister said she could not drive an old [ one year old] Landcruiser her predecessor had been using. She also requested for a larger office. The minister reportedly said, the office was too small for her. This is the same Office her predecessors were using. Unfortunately, the said minister has not achieved much ever since she was appointed.
It is only in Uganda where you find several government institutions doing several [ similar, related] things, but not coordinated. But that is not the issue, when things fail, the institutions start blaming each other’s, meanwhile billions of shillings of tax payer’s money are wasted. For example, NITA, a government agency, recently understood, the National ICT backbone Infrastructure (NBI). is said to have borrowed $ 140 million from World Bank to connect all government institutions. Never mind, government owned shares in UTL. The debt-ridden institution had what it takes to do the same job, all it needed was financing to revamp itself. Now government is looking for money to recapitalize UTL? Recently, government through the permanent secretary Ministry of Finance directed that all government departments should start using Internet and UTL services. Are we getting our priorities, right? What is the fate of NBI in which government borrowed to invest millions of shillings?
Long stay in office
When we talk about long stay in office, many tend to focus on president Museveni who has been president since 1986. But wait, there are host of government officers who have been in the same offices for over 16 years, doing the same things.
But that is not the problem, the worst part is that these offciers don’t have KPI’s, NO targets, meaning to many its business as usual. There is no creativity, innovation, nothing. Could this be the reason why our economy that used to grow so fast has stagnated? back then these officers had the zeal to perform.
And the examples are not hard to find. Governor Bank of Uganda Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile has been in Office for the last 16 years. The recent Crane Bank Crisis and other scandals including Governors Land scam have exposed the Governor. Has the Governor lost his hands? simply because he lost touch with some issues after long stay in office?
John Rwangombwa, the governor of the National Bank of Rwanda, the central bank and national banking regulator was appointed to that position on 25 February 2013
The Permanent Secretary Minister of Finance, has been serving in the Ministry of Finance for over 20 years. These are the people supposed to drive the economy. Because they have been around in the same office, there is no pressure to innovate, work hard, why? they are assured of their jobs, and salary at the end of the month.
Corruption: Who is not ‘eating’?
A story is told of minister who reportedly took a bribe of $100,000 from a Chinese investor promising to help out the investor. The investor was planning to set up glass -manufacturing industry in Lwera, in Masaka district. This particular minister reportedly shared the ‘loot’ with another minister. However, when the minister failed to secure the requirements [ including land in Lwera, where sand is freely available for the investor, the investor demanded refund. However, the minister had used nearly used all money [ left with only 20%,] while the colleague refused to refund money, saying, was never part of ‘their’ deal, ‘Did I sign anywhere? the minister reportedly asked?
Sources say, this is the same minister who reported the commissioners at Ministry of Finance who were caught red-handed taking bribes from Chinese investors. Sources add that the commissioners were working on behalf of another high senior officer [s]. How is not eating?
According to the latest, global Corruption Perception Index, The Corruption Perception Index, placed Rwanda alongside Mauritius as third least corrupt country in sub-Saharan. And Uganda? oh no. luckily president Museveni recently vowed to sack and prosecute government officials who take bribes from investors.
To be continued ………