Hoima MP concerned about ban on public service recruitment, Speaker demands timeline for lifting ban, Minister Mugasa says discussions to be held soon

L-R: Hoima East City Division MP, Dr Patrick Isingoma, Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa and State Minister for Public Service, Ms Grace Mary Mugasa. (Collage: Kazi-njema News)

Following the Hoima East City Division Member of Parliament, Dr Patrick Isingoma’s demand for a report from the Ministry of Public Service over the continuous ban on public service recruitment, the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, has directed the ministry to update Parliament on when it intends to lift the ban.

Dr Isingoma raised the issue highlighting the detrimental impact of the ban on government operations in his constituency and beyond saying services are stagnant.

“In Hoima, all local governments and other public services are at a standstill due to this unending ban.”

Responding to Dr Isingoma’s concerns, Mr Tayebwa has directed the Ministry of Public Service to present a formal statement outlining the anticipated timeframe for resuming recruitment in new cities like Hoima, Fort Portal and others which aims to facilitate the smooth functioning of government work across the country.

Responding to the concern, the Minister of State for Public Service who hails from West Division of Hoima city, Ms Grace Mary Mugasa, told parliament that the ban on public service recruitment will soon be discussed by the ministry’s top management before presenting a statement to parliament.

Although the minister acknowledged that the ministry has requested a payroll audit from the Auditor General encompassing both central and local government and involving actual headcounts of employees, she did not provide a concrete timeline for lifting the recruitment ban.

“We agreed that after the production of the report, we are going to discuss it and come up with resolutions. Since it was tabled in parliament, I doubt if MPs have discussed the Audit Report on validation of staff. This report has not yet been discussed by the top management of the ministry. We are about to discuss it, then we will let you know when the recruitment halt will be lifted,” Ms Mugasa told the parliamentary representatives.

The public service recruitment ban followed the Ministries of Finance and Public Service conducting a physical validation exercise of public servants across the country to address the issue of ghost workers among others who were increasing according to the Auditor General’s Report for the period ending June 2023.

This exercise revealed a significant number of vacant positions.

According to the Auditor General’s report, a staggering 60,847 out of 133,670 approved positions across 75 government ministries, departments and agencies along with 167 local governments have remained unfilled for more than two years now.

The report also emphasises the negative consequences of this situation on service delivery where the vacant positions lead to “reduced efficiency, increased workload for existing staff and ultimately hinder the delivery of quality services.”

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