Staff of disbanded science and technology ministry redeployed

Over 30 former staff of the disbanded Ministry of Science and Technology have been absorbed into various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The affirmations were made by permanent secretaries of different ministries who appeared before the Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation, on Tuesday, 18 April 2023.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Irene Batebe, revealed 16 officers have successfully been absorbed into her ministry.

Clarifying on an officer who she did not absorb despite a recommendation from the Ministry of Public Service for the position of Senior Seismologist, she said the officer did not meet the qualifications.

“When we received his academic qualifications and cross-checked them with the job specifications, it turned out that he does not meet the requirements,” Batebe said.

She added that the officer initially trained in science education yet the role he sought to fill requires training at masters level in aspects of geochemistry and geology, among others. “Our recommendation is that he is considered under the Ministry of Education and Sports,” she said advised.

Kampala Capital City Authority, Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, and Ministry of Works and Transport, among others, have also absorbed a total of 16 former staff members of the disbanded ministry.

The committee chairperson, Hon. Remigio Achia, tasked the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service to explain the process used to transfer staff of rationalised agencies.

He observed that out of 43 complaints from public servants to the committee, only 35 have been absorbed in the different MDAs.

“Some Permanent Secretaries told some of these officers that they cannot be absorbed or do not qualify or were subject to interviews. Under what law did they make such a decision yet you [Ministry of Public Service] sent them there?” Achia asked.

Catherine Bitarakwate, the Permanent Secretary, said the process of disbanding the Ministry of Science and Technology required creation of new structures to cater for technical officers.

She added that staff at the former science and technology ministry comprised a variety of professions which required different ministries to provide lists of vacant positions that tally with the qualifications of transferred officers.

“It is not direct that a technical officer can be deployed across agencies, unlike a human resource officer who can be deployed anywhere,” said Bitarakwate

She added that there are policy guidelines issued by Cabinet that speak to the rationalisation process of MDAs, which include absorption of staff of the affected MDAs.

Hon. Santa Alum (UPC, Oyam District Woman Representative) tasked the Ministry of Public Service to present a harmonised position on the deployments.

“We also need to know the time frame within which those who have not been absorbed will enter their new positions,” she added.

Yunus Kakande, the Secretary in the Office of the President, made a proposal that officers who are not absorbed as soon as possible, should be retired so that their arrears are paid.