Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives receive state of the art office facelift; PS Ssali commended for hard work
By Our Reporter
Some ministries in town have been known for their dilapidated offices and structures which do not appease onlookers and the public given the taxes they pay.
This is not the case with Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives situated at farmer’s house. The ministry has of recent received a magnificent facelift that has left many wondering how the once laughed at office building can change to the most appeasing in town given the old age of the building.
Farmers House was built way back in 1964, by Lint Marketing Board. The electrical systems, plumbing systems, internet connectivity; doors, windows, and other furniture fittings were in a sorry state putting Government documents and staff at a huge risk of fire and health-related risks.
Some time back, there was a debate of whether the ministry should be shifted to Kingdom Kampala Building where it would be paying a whopping Ush 5billions per year but thanks to its permanent secretary Geraldine Ssali who stood her ground and defended her decision to renovate the available office space at Farmers’ House in Kampala instead of spending that staggering Shs 5bn on renting office space at Kingdom Kampala Building.
Final touches on renovation of this building including plumbing, painting, and fixing of infrastructure to the modern standards of a government office has just concluded on the first 2 top floors of the building and Geraldine recently commissioned the state-of-the-art facility that will safely house government documents and records for the Ministry. While handing over the renovated facility, Geraldine thanked all the key partners and the Government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Trade for funding the project to completion.
According to documents seen by this website, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives requested for supplementary budget to the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development (MoFPED) in the first quarter of FY 2021/2022. This request had critical unfunded priorities including revamping cooperatives, and improvement of the staff working conditions by securing accommodation at a cost of UGX 5 billions.
Like any other ministry or entity faces funding challenges, renovation works have not gone quickly than anticipated because of the delay in releasing funds to the ministry. In regards to this, funds were approved way back in the 1st quarter, in August 2021, however Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development (MoFPED) made the actual release of the funds (UGX 5 billions) at the end of the financial year in April 2022 as part of fourth quarter cash limits at the 4th quarter, no procurement process for accommodation premises could be undertaken in such a short time.
This thus means that the ministry became constrained with time of carrying out the necessary activities required to facilitate the procurement and expenditure of the funds before the expiry of the financial year and also expected to absorb the said funds otherwise they would be returned to the Treasury as required by law.
According to Public Finance Management Act 2015, the Accounting Officer shall in the performance of her duties exercise a great degree of skill and diligence to effectively execute her functions as provided for under the Act.
This website talked to some members of parliament especially those sitting of the committee of trade, and they praised permanent secretary Ssali for saving tax payers money worth UGX 5,083,864,788/= in rent every year that would be paid at Kingdom Hall Plots 31A-35A & 37A-39A along Nile Avenue with 5,093 square meters and King Square Building, Plot 9, Portal Avenue, Kampala.
more so, the ministry plans to go paperless under the Government EDRMS (Electronic data records management system) project and this will further reduce on government expenditure of papers.