Ministry of Public Service officials have been tasked by MPs to explain the snail paced recruitment exercise to fill vacant positions in several government agencies despite the availability of funds.
Parliament learnt that in the 2016/17 financial year, wages worth 70 billion shillings were returned to the Consolidated Fund due staffing gaps in several government departments.
The ministry’s payroll statistics indicate that as of September 2019, only 311,728 positions out of a total 469,465 vacancies had been filled representing 66.40%.
Fred Angura, the Tororo South MP wondered why Public Service was taking long to approve recruitment requests yet these jobs are on high demand.
“For purposes of efficiency, how much time does it take you to qualify a request from an entity that has even got resources for given jobs that they are requesting for?” he wondered.
He further observed that some ministries were being forced to internally source for personnel, a practice he said could be a ploy to ring fence juicy positions for themselves.
“You have heard of hiding vacancies, yesterday here one of the entities told us that the vacancies they requested for were not advertised publicly but there was internal recruitment which failed to get people to be attracted.”
In response. Catherine Birakwaate Musingwiire the ministry’s Permanent Secretary (PS) said recruitment requests are approved in July after the budget is passed.
Birakwaate revealed however that going forward, a programme based budgeting tool which shall be linked to an Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS) has been instituted to simplify matters for newly recruited staff.
This system will also realign the wage requirements and in cases where the wage demands surpass staff requirements, it will automatically reject.
“We are re-configuring it so that even without our intervention, all the budgets are aligned per cost item, which puts a cap on recruitment in that if you enter more people than the establishments and the wage it rejects” Birakwaate says.