Wednesday, September 7, 2016

By Doreen Nasasira

Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Local Government Leaders and heads of agencies on Monday started a five day retreat at Speke Resort Munyonyo to assess government performance for FY 2015/2016.

The retreat for Assessment of Government Performance Report (GAPR) for FY 2015/2016 was organized under the theme, ‘Realizing Results on Public Finance Investments; Opportunities and Challenges-Kisanja Hakuna Muchezo’

Speaking at the opening of the retreat on Monday, the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda who represented the Vice- President Edward Ssekandi said the retreat was aimed at appraising government’s annual performance in FY 2015/2016, including the Local Governments.

He said this retreat was an opportunity to review progress in implementing undertakings of previous retreats and also agree on ways to improve performance under the current FY 2016/17 budget as well as refocus budget priorities for FY 2017/18.

The Vice President said the retreat was a sign of maturity in Uganda’s democratization process, where successes and failures are shared transparently.

Dr. Rugunda in his presentation said the objective of the GAPR report was to provide information to policy makers on performance of government, adding that it highlights what has been delivered as well as pending issues to enable assessment of progress in the whole government.

The assessment is done against key performance measures for every sector especially outcomes in the actual changes in the quality, access and utilization of public interventions in the areas of governance, security and investments including externally funded projects.

“This effort facilitates the identification of areas where emphasis needs to be put to achieve NDP II objectives,” Rugunda said adding that GAPR will also monitor the progress of Uganda’s implementation of the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs)

The Premier however noted that the performance of some sectors was still below average compared to their set annual targets due to challenges of data management.

He said despite sectors achieving about 57% of the annual targets according to the outcome indicators, some sectors such as health, education, ICT, water and environment have continued to have challenges with data management leading to submission of insufficient data.

He urged these sectors to aggressively tackle the data challenge in order to enable the nation achieve the middle income status.

The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija said the country had reached the take-off stage in development.

He however noted that despite the well laid out strategies and the required reforms, management for delivery of desired results still remains a significant constraint.

The Finance Minister said 5 out of 16 sectors had fully aligned plans both in strategic focus and times laid out by NDP II, adding that more than 50% of ministries, departments and agencies have no aligned strategic plans.

Officials from the Performance Management and Delivery Unit of Malaysia (PEMANDU), Dr Chris Tan and Dr Sanrinder Kumari gave an overview on how to tackle developmental challenges through conducting labs, open days, publishing roadmaps, setting key performance indicators (KPIs) and targets as well as implementing with clear monitoring and evaluation systems.

The officials applauded Government for setting up the Prime Ministers Delivery Unit (PMDU) which is now mandated to push for fast and big results.

The Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Prof. Ezra Suruma said there was need to focus more on implementation to improve service delivery as guided by President Museveni in his recent directive on the 23 national priorities.

Dr Suruma said the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit was focusing on jobs and incomes, education, health and infrastructure, adding that it was important to build consensus on the 23 national priorities.

The retreat was jointly organized by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic development and the Office of the Prime Minister.