The Foreign Affairs State Minister, Henry Okello Oryem, says the move is aimed at trimming the number of embassy staff and subscription in billions of Shillings to international organizations to save money. He was speaking before the Foreign Affairs Committee to present the budget estimates for the financial year 2021/2022.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has
unveiled plans to start the process of re-evaluating the number of workers in
Ugandan embassies abroad and subscription to International organizations.
The Foreign Affairs State Minister, Henry Okello Oryem, says the move is aimed
at trimming the number of embassy staff and subscription in billions of Shillings
to international organizations to save money. He was speaking before the Foreign
Affairs Committee to present the budget estimates for the financial year
Uganda has 35 Missions employing between 6-10 staff including the Ambassador,
Deputy Ambassador, Defence attaché, Deputy Defense Attaché, First Secretary
Political affairs, Second secretary commercial and diplomacy, second secretary
social and Humanitarian affairs, third secretary, Financial Attaché, counsellor
diaspora and consular services. Others are Administrative Attaché, drivers and
House helps for the Ambassadors among others.
Oryem says that Government is proposing to adopt the Vietnam or Cuban
model where only two or three staff are deployed in embassies and
consulates. According to Oryem, if this model, which is still a proposal,
is adopted, it will save Government from paying billions of Shillings.
He says in the Vietnam model, only the Ambassador and First secretary
are deployed while other staff can be on contract, adding that a driver can be
hired on contract only on official duties.
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Pecos Kutesa, the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) Representative in
Parliament questioned the relevance of certain embassies, saying although they
were strategic then, they are not strategic now. He says there is a need to
review the embassies.
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According to Oryem, all embassies are strategic, except that they need to make
an assessment of those that can be concentrated on for their economic diplomacy
purposes. Oryem also said that there are plans to re-evaluate Uganda’s
subscription to International Agencies, saying that in some cases they are
paying billions of money to these organizations without any tangible benefit.
He says that they will soon generate a list of the organizations that
are helpful and the ones they think are no longer necessary. According to
reports, Uganda owes international organisations close to Shillings 34 billion.
Some of the Organisations that have previously suffered this include; World
Trade Organization, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and South Center
The Ministry decried a reduction in their budget for the foreign missions and
headquarters from Shillings 243 Billion this financial year to Shillings 224
Billion in the next financial year.