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OPM to splash Shs 5bn on workshops, seminars

Official word is that at least Shs 5.2 billion will be spent on workshops and seminars at the Office of the Prime Minister in 2018/19 financial year, up from Shs 3.4 billion spent in 2017/18.

According to the ministerial policy statement prepared for parliamentary approval, workshops and seminars are listed amongst the six priority items OPM will spend more money on in the next financial year.

Others are: compensation to third parties (Shs 26.4bn), agricultural supplies (Shs 127.7bn), contract staff salaries, including casuals (Shs 10.8bn), short-term consultancy services (Shs 9.2bn) and travel inland (Shs 8.8bn).

In total, OPM has budgeted Shs 478.2bn for next financial year. The prime minister leads government business in parliament and is responsible for the coordination and implementation of government programmes across ministries, departments, and other public institutions.

There are 12 ministers with the premier and first deputy prime minister in the OPM. Next financial year, according to the ministerial statement, general staff will earn Shs 2.4bn while contract staff, including casual labourers, will earn Shs 10.8bn.

About Shs 110m is estimated for medical bills for its employees, slightly up from Shs 100m spent this year. For incapacity, death benefits and funeral expenses, OPM plans to spend Shs 100m, the same amount projected last year.

The office will also have to spend Shs 81m separately on hire of venues, tents and chairs and projector – up from Shs 70m last financial year.

With government revenues not meeting expectations, analysts have suggested government must cut on some expenses that don’t add much to service delivery.

Things like workshops and seminars, special meals and drinks and entertainment are seen as non-essential items.

At the OPM, according to the ministerial statement, welfare and entertainment will take Shs 224.7 million, slightly down from Shs 239m last year.

Special meals and drinks will cost the taxpayer Shs 339m, down from 342m spent in the concluding year. At least Shs 479.8m will be spent on staff training, down from Shs 481.8m spent last year.

At least 460.4m will be spent on buying books, periodicals and newspapers while on advertising and public relations, the OPM plans to spend at least Shs 1.4bn.

BUYING WHAT?

A further look into the ministerial statement, gives an idea of what exactly the ministry will be buying. For instance, under output 02 for coordinating government business in parliament under the executive office, they plan to host 606 guests and spend Shs 60m on special meals and drinks.

Output 5 in the same office talks about maintenance of vehicles, buying spare parts and it will cost taxpayers Shs 100m in 2018/19.

Under sub-programme 09 – the office of government chief whip – at least Shs 400m will be spent on workshops and seminars and hire of venue.

Also, the government chief whip’s office will spend at least Shs 80m on printing, stationery, photocopying and binding. They will also spend 61m on rent in private buildings. Short-term consultancies in the same office will cost taxpayers Shs 441m.

Under sub-programme 16, which is monitoring and evaluation, OPM will spend at least Shs 584m on workshops and seminars for local governments.

Under sub-programme 24, which is named the prime minister’s delivery unit, at least Shs 20m will be spent on welfare and entertainment while the same amount is budgeted for special meals and drinks.

Also, printing, photocopying, stationery and binding will take at least Shs 100m under this unit next financial year.

Under programme 2, disaster preparedness and refugee management, the OPM plans to spend Shs 1.5bn on buying agricultural supplies. This will go mainly to internally displaced people returned and resettled and refugees resettled under output 3.

Also under output 4, covering relief to disaster victims, about Shs 3bn is budgeted for agricultural supplies. At least Shs 200m under this output will be spent on motor vehicle maintenance.

Under sub-programme 06 of Luweero-Rwenzori triangle, at least Shs 720m will be spent on rent, Shs 200m spent on travel inland while Shs 392m will be spent on fuel, lubricants and oils.

Additionally, OPM will buy iron sheets at Shs 304m and agricultural pumps at Shs 500m under the same sub-programme. In total, the Luweero-Rwenzori sub-programme will account for Shs 3.2bn in 2018/19.

Finally, sub-programme 7, which looks at Karamoja, at least Shs 100m will be spent on travel inland and Shs 80m on travel abroad. Computer supplies for Karamoja region will cost Shs 200m.