Staff Shortage Hits Makerere University Estates Unit

Sources at the department indicate that over 200 vacancies have not been filled over the past years.
Makerere University estates department
Staff shortage has hit Makerere University Estates and Works Department. Sources at the department indicate that over 200 vacancies have not been filled over the past years. 

The estates, which is charged with critical properties of the University that include buildings, land, and vehicles has almost been rendered dysfunctional with the existing staff unable to execute. 

This has partly been the reason for the poor management and numerous land grabs, a source who preferred anonymity disclosed to URN.

The hardest hit is the transport unit charged with handling the university fleet, where there is currently no logistics and transport officer to manage the institution’s 600 vehicles.  

The unit is responsible for performing four basic roles; maintenance and upkeep of the entire University infrastructure, execution of minor civil, electrical and mechanical engineering works, supervision of capital projects, and custody of the University property.  

A technical report by a University Council’s Estates and Works Committee released by Eng. Dr Stephen Kagoda, the former Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Permanent Secretary and a member of the Makerere governing Council indicates that the staffing levels were inadequate to meet the demands at hand and the instruction from Council.  

URN has also established that the governing Council at Makerere had instructed the Estates and Works Directorate to undertake all maintenance works in-house.       

A report by Eng. Christina Kakeeto, the Estates and Works Director which is yet to be discussed indicates that the unit currently had 64 staff as of November 2019. Of these, 13 are scheduled to retire in the next two years while 44 staff have retired from the unit in the last five years.  

Eng. Kakeeto has requested an immediate intervention of the university council and government to at least recruit 39 staff.

She says in a report that the unit has in addition to several other challenges experienced inadequate staffing levels, especially at supervisory levels.  

“Many have died, retired or been re-allocated to other units. The unit lacks key personnel already provided for in the current staff structure. ...without adequate manpower in place, the turn around on infrastructure maintenance cannot be achieved even if a sufficient budget was available,” says Eng. Kakeeto in her report to Council.  

The staff establishment at Makerere University’s Estates and Works department is 275 staff in number. But currently, only 64 staff positions are filled out of which five staff are scheduled to retire in five months’ time.  

The unit has submitted to council a list of immediate staff needs, a total of 39. They include a two managers, an architect, a position that has been vacant for years which the university says is critical in project management, a two land surveyors to manage the institution’s huge land management portfolio.  

Also required are four civil engineers, two environmental officers since the two administrators that used to manage the function are retired from university service, an electric engineer, mechanical engineer, quantity surveyor, three transport officers, senior vehicle mechanics, house overseers and a storekeeper.  

The unit has also requested for 18 electrical, plumbing and furniture technicians to replace several who retired. Also vacant are positions for drivers, drain cleaners for the sanitary drainage network, plumbing foreman. 

“If the staff requested are provided, the staff establishment structure will be filled with 95 active personnel who will ably fulfil the current needs for the on-going and planned projects as well as maintaining the Adhoc maintenance,” Eng. Kakeeto says.

Kagoda-led estates committee discloses that the current staff structure at the institution’s Estates and Works Department is obsolete and out of line with the current work demands.  

He cites that the unit also lacks the necessary basic tools to operate like vehicles and motorcycles, survey equipment, workers specialized tools, computers among others.  

“It was agreed that the staffing structure of the Estates & Works Directorate be revised to match the work outputs expected. The requested key staff be recruited as soon as possible to enable the department to meet current demands,” reads in part, committee resolutions.