The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda officially commissioned the National Records Centre and Archives (NRCA) building at Lourdel Road in Kampala on Thursday.

The Prime Minister commended the Ministry of Public Service upon the milestone of constructing the National Records Centre and Archives facility which he said was a vital tool for fostering national identity and protection of rights.

Dr Rugunda said the facility will not only promote awareness and understanding of the country’s national and corporate history by providing facts, but it will also be the country’s centre for posterity and national heritage utilized by all national and international scholars, historians, researchers and citizens.

“We are living in an information age where records and information is regarded as a key resource and a factor of production for development of a nation. Records underpin accountability, transparency, good governance and democracy and therefore without them, one cannot make an informed decision,” the Prime Minister said adding that uninformed decisions can be very costly to the nation.

The Premier also said that the facility will enable government to enforce records management standard that will enhance accountability to all stakeholders, adding that without records a nation can be easily extinct.

“As you know, accountability is a critical issue that the government has emphasized in order to meet legal, regulatory and fiscal requirements,” Rugunda said.

Dr Rugunda expressed gratitude to all those that were associated with the construction project of the facility for demonstrating competence and accountability in the management of the project and thus encouraged them especially the Ministry of Public Service to remain consistent in the other future projects and programmes.

He also thanked the World Bank for its prompt and positive response to government’s request by providing funding for the project.

The State Minister for Public Service, David Karubanga said that the facility will promote access to information and transparency of government to the citizens.

“Government attaches great importance to information and therefore let us work to improve the capacity of the facility and use of the records for example through training workers on national management of records to solve the problem of poor archiving which has been causing delays in different organisations,” Karubanga said.

The Permanent Secretary for Ministry of public service, Mrs Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire called upon the government to encourage the utilisation of the facility to its full capacity by urging all government ministries to register with the centre.

Mrs Bitarakwate however noted that the construction of the facility hasn’t yet been fully accomplished due to limited funds.

She said additional funds were required to complete the second phase of construction, build capacity and also digitalise the archives.

Bitarakwate also said the ministry will generate income to sustain the facility from the fees that will be collected from the researchers and other users of the facility.

The World Bank representative Magezi Barbara, congratulated government upon the construction of the facility remarking that it is not only a clear indication of the transformation in the public service sector of Uganda but also a great achievement and improvement to government as far as transparency and accountability are concerned.

Magezi said that the facility will ease the provision of information to investors and also generate income for government.

The World Bank official also challenged  the Public Service Ministry to guard against anything that will deter the progress of effective records management such corruption, alteration and denial of information by implementing laws and policies for effective records management.

 By Doreen Nasasira

Friday, 30 September 2016