Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has directed the Ministry of Agriculture to avail comprehensive accountability for 32.2 billion Shillings used to recruit agricultural extension workers in financial year 2017/2018.
Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee-PAC has directed the Ministry
of Agriculture to avail comprehensive accountability for 32.2 billion Shillings
used to recruit agricultural extension workers in financial year 2017/2018.
Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries on
Monday appeared before the committee chaired by Budadiri West MP Nathan Nandala
Mafabi. They were led by the Permanent Secretary Pius Wakabi Kasajja to answer
to audit queries raised by Auditor General John Muwanga in his June 2018
In the report, Muwanga queried the utilization of released funds to the
ministry noting that out of the budgeted 174 billion budgeted to cater for
different activities in the entity; only 151.9 billion had been released
resulting into a shortfall of 22 billion.
The Auditor General further noted that out of the released 151.9 billion, only
151.4 billion was utilized by the Ministry leaving unspent balance of 566
million which was largely due to salary balances and funds related to
agricultural suppliers and extension activities in Local Governments.
The report revealed that out of the planned recruitment and training of 5,000
extension workers budgeted at 39 billion, only 3,377 were recruited with a
released budget of 32 billion leaving 1,623 positions of extension workers not
filled in different districts. Wakabi explained the shortfall in the budget
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Wakabi also noted that the recruitment of the extension workers was affected by
late recruitments at the Local Government and shortage of specific competence
in some districts.
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Tasked by PAC Chairperson to give the status of the recruitment exercise, Fred
Mayanja, the Commissioner Planning in the Agriculture Ministry said that so far
3,860 extension workers have been recruited representing 72% of the planned
required workers across the country.
He added that the ministry has been able to provide 1,060 motorcycles to some
of the recruited workers and also provided a double cabin vehicle in every
district. The committee also learnt that the recruitment was based on a cabinet
recommendation to recruit a maximum of 3 extension workers in every district to
fill positions of a fisheries staff, crop staff and animal staff.
Mayanja’s submission sparked off different queries from MPs. Amudat Woman
representative Rosemary Nauwat questioned whether the acquired 1,060
motorcycles were enough for all the extension workers.
She also inquired to know where the recruited extension workers
have been deployed since their presence is not felt on ground.
PAC Vice Chairperson Okin P.P Ojara demanded that the Agriculture Ministry
satisfies his committee that when all the required 5,000 workers are recruited
there will be value for money.
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Fredrick Angura, the Tororo South County MP asked the Agriculture Ministry
officials about the percentage of people practising agriculture who are
currently in the money economy so that they can be able to assess the value of
the extension workers.
Kalungu West MP Joseph Sewungu demanded that the ministry avails details of the
recruitment exercise citing a need for the committee to ascertain where the
recruited extension workers are and under whose supervision.
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PAC Chairperson Nandala ruled that the Agriculture ministry submits to the
committee details of the recruited staff so far in every district, where they
are missing and the specific instruments given to local governments in line
with the recruitment exercise among others. He directed that the comprehensive
details about the recruitment should be submitted to the PAC Secretariat by Tuesday for a review.