LAUNCHED 2nd APRM REVIEW: PM Ruhakana Rugunda.

In what appears a new measure to cut spending on unnecessary foreign trips by ministers and other top government officials, the Cabinet has decided that the officials will have to be cleared by the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda before they can travel.

“…clearance for ministers, ministers of state, specified officers, head of public service, deputy head of public service, permanent secretaries and chief administrative officers will be the responsibility of the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister,” the Minister of ICT and National Guidance and also Cabinet Spokesperson, Frank Tumwebaze said Friday in press release.

However, the meeting chaired by Dr Rugunda held that clearance for other public officers below the rank of permanent secretaries and chief administrative officers would be the responsibility of the respective minister.

The current practice has been that all travels abroad would be cleared by the Prime Minister.

“The change of practice is premised on the need to reduce the work load of the Right Hon. Prime Minister and to enable ministers to take full charge of the affairs of their ministries and therefore be accountable as political heads,” it further reads.

Tumwebaze said the measure is also intended to reduce on the cost of travels abroad through rationalization of trips at any given time.

According to analysts, the measure will reduce on the recurrent expenditure and probably the money be switched to infrastructure development. “It is an open secret that government has little money to spend on infrastructure. Regulation of foreign trips is one way of raising money internally to cover up gaps in infrastructure development,” a top politician who preferred to remain anonymous said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has also approved the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS)
2017/18 -2021/2022. The strategy will operationalise the policy on export promotion and coordinate all efforts of different ministries.

The strategy will see ministers undertake sectoral budget re-prioritization in context of its implementation using the available resources.

The Minister of Trade Amelia Kyambade is expected to address the press next week on Monday to give highlights on the strategy.