Friday, 2 September, 2016

By Doreen Nasasira

The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has officially opened a two day induction retreat for the newly appointed members of Cabinet at Lake Victoria Serena Resort, Kigo.

The retreat is themed on “Defining and developing ministerial effectiveness to maintain steady progress” and it aims at building on the leadership retreat which was recently held in Kyankwanzi to set the pace for the effective running of Government business during the 2016-2021 mandate.

Opening the retreat on Thursday, Dr Rugunda congratulated the ministers upon their successful appointment to their offices and tasked them to work according to the key priorities outlined by His Excellency the President during the State of the Nation address and budget speech.

He also urged them to focus on the 23 strategic guidelines and directives which all aim at enabling Uganda achieve a middle income status by 2020.

“We must therefore work to transform our country, improve the livelihoods of the people and have a significant impact on the performance of the next government in terms of service delivery,” said the Prime Minister.

Dr Rugunda emphasized to the ministers that as cabinet, they have a big role to play in the transformation of the country as stipulated by the Constitution of Uganda under article 111(2) of “Determining, Formulating and Implementing Policy of Government and to perform such other functions as may be conferred by the Constitution or any other law”.

He urged them to fully strive to exercise the authority vested in them as cabinet

“We all know that Government’s overall effectiveness starts with the effectiveness of each one of us. I expect this retreat to help us reflect on what makes an effective minister,” noted the Premier.

The Premier also called upon the new ministers to endeavour to understand how the ministries they head work, adding that they must engage with the Permanent Secretaries, in “a business approach” which will enable building of strong working relations and teams for effective service delivery.

He explained that such an approach will enable the ministers to become game changers in the public sector which in turn will enhance detailed implementation, planning, real-time monitoring and problem solving, regular performance reviews and evaluation with effective rewards and sanctions unlike the “business as usual approach” as it has previously been.

He however cautioned that if “a business approach” is to be achieved and embraced by the ministers in the public sector, there is need for a proactive change of mind-set.

The Prime Minister also noted that among the major  challenges government was facing include the pressing need to speed up decision making to facilitate investment and business, accelerating implementation of government programmes and policies and improving service delivery to the people.

During the induction, the Ministers will be reflecting on how to strengthen the Cabinet system with a focus on how the Cabinet Secretariat can effectively play its gate keeping role. They will also examine the effectiveness of the current system of committees used in Cabinet.

The two day induction retreat will equip the ministers with knowledge to understand the processes, challenges and demands of the cabinet in order for them perform and execute their work effectively to achieve results.