This is really special, unique and utter brilliance. For a government and a ruling regime so addicted to cars/vehicles. The Auditor General Report is really stating the errors of the National Resistance Movement (NRM). The OAG is clearly not saving its words.
When it states: “Management of government vehicles (Fleet management) is faced with a number of challenges, such as: inability to respond to national emergencies, like COVID 19; inability to support the delivery of public service by government entities; high government expenditure on purchase of vehicles; misuse of government vehicles; inaccurate vehicle management records; and a general lack of a comprehensive and standard government fleet management policy” (OAG, February 2021).
If you read those sentences… the challenges is the whole gig and set-up. There is nothing that is done correctly and neither is there any procedures to follow. That is the government of over 30 years for you. A NRM who is always in every election buying vehicles and gives away that to public officials. Therefore, they should have secured these things and ensured their ‘fleet’ which they clearly are not careful about.
Just in the last three years, 36 government entities bought a total of 677 vehicles with a total cost of 176 billion shillings. That is the average price of each vehicle for close to 260 million shillings each. While the COVID-19 donations to cars was only 38.98 billion shillings, which is used to acquire 202 vehicles. That is at a price of 192,5 million shillings for each vehicles. So, the prices on the cars have clearly gone down, but still expensive.
It is ironic that the Daily Monitor reported this earlier this year:
“The industry price increase is estimated to be between 6.25 per cent and 9 per cent spread across all sizes and models. Uganda is a net importer with much of the country’s motor vehicle imports sourced from Japan, India, South Africa, UK and Germany. According to data from Uganda Revenue Authority earlier this year, a total of 5,188 units were cleared in December 2020, which was a 22 per cent increase from the 4,012 units in the previous month” (Dorothy Nakaweesi – ‘Prices of used cars increase 30.04.2021).
So, on that note alone the OAG report doesn’t make much sense. Unless, the state suddenly bought smaller cars and not just Toyota Land Cruisers with V8 or something similar. Now, they are buying Toyota Corolla’s or a Sedan, which is cheaper than a big SUV.
We know there is no proper guidance or protocol for the fleet or vehicles as earlier stated, as the OAG Report further says this:
“Furthermore, I observed that 38 entities (76.0%) out of the 50 entities did not have a specific policy or guidelines on Motor vehicle management to guide the usage and eliminate theft, losses, wastage and misuse of motor vehicles. This was in addition to the absence of a comprehensive standardized fleet management policy of Government. Different aspects of government vehicles management are found in different policies and guidelines cited in various government documents, such as; the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders 2010, the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, 2014, and Treasury Instructions, 2017. This affects the entities’ ability to address the unique motor vehicle management challenges which may not be envisaged in the standing Orders and Treasury Instructions” (OAG February 2021).
So, the government haven’t any sort of idea what it needs to do, if the cars are lost, forgotten about or lack service. These cars can just dwindle or disappear into the thin air. Just like cars bought decades ago and suddenly found in a government organization parking lot dusting down. While the cars are falling apart without anyone knowing why and was a procurement deal gone bad or something. Therefore, this report isn’t shocking, but its proof of why this is a mismanaged cash-bonanza for the government entities.
To make things even worse, the OAG Report says this:
“I noted that 33 of the selected entities holding a total of 4,979 vehicles spent UGX.123.4bn on vehicle maintenance, and had an increment of 35.3% of the average total maintenance costs per vehicle over the 3 year period. The increasing maintenance costs were attributed to the ageing fleet. For example, 1,794 vehicles (55%) out of 3,234 vehicles held by 27 entities had exceeded the recommended 5 years useful life or had their mileage above the recommended 250,000km” (OAG February 2021).
The Auditor General is clear in the message. Though this is only from 33 government entities and still shows a pattern. It also shows the massive car-park or fleet it has. Which is ageing just like the President and needs a peaceful transition to buy new ones. Since, the government is on a spending spree when it comes to vehicles.
That will clearly not stop as there is a possibility there is a need to downplay the value of the current fleet and even scrap the cars eventually… as they are not fit to be on the road. This here is another proof of no guidelines or planned procurement of the vehicles. As that is a short-term expense and not planned for what happens after a while. That’s how it looks and it isn’t shocking.
We can always remember the vehicles bought for the papal visit a few years back. Those cars was spent a small fortune on, but left behind. To never be seen and kept in a government parking-lot.
The OAG is just putting the truth out and this needs to be discussed, as this is horrible governance and misuse of government funds. They are wasting millions of shillings and cannot even take care of the car park it has created. Peace.