The Executive Secretary of the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examination Board (UNMEB) Mrs. Hellen Mukakalisa Kataratambi has asked the Government for more budget support.
She made this request during a meeting with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) members on Friday March 5, 2021.
UNMEB documents show that the entity’s budget which includes both Government subventions and collections from nursing candidates rose from Shs 23.4 Billion in 2017/18 to 32.4 Billion shillings in the year 2019/20.
Speaking today, Kataratambi pointed out that whereas the entity’s budget for the last three years has risen by almost ten billion, it cannot sufficiently cater for the increasing number of candidates.
“The board has registered a steady growth in the number of candidates from 54,943 students in 2017/18 to 62, 702 in 2019/20. Since the costs associated with examination are number driven, there is a need to match the increase in numbers with resources available to the board on an annual basis if the objectives are to be achieved,” Kataratambi added.
A UNMEB document shows that 54,943 certificate and diploma students drawn from 86 institutions sat for exams in the 2017/18 Financial Year (FY).
Last year, the number of institutions and candidates jumped to 104 and 62,702 respectively.
Rising further, Kataratambi explained that an increase in finances will help cap examination management expenditure which last year eclipsed financial receipts by Shs 380,155,046.
Official reports show that UNMEB received Shs 25.2 Billion but spent 25.6 Billion shillings on moderation of test items, per diem, delivery and supervision of exams among many other items.
Kataratambi contends that increasing budgetary allocations shall help her arrest critical staffing issues which continue to strain the body.
Apparently, UNMEB has 35 permanent staff while 7 are on staff contracts; which represent 51.3% of the required staffing levels.
Rising on this matter, PAC Chairperson Nathan Nandala Mafabi advised that it would be more feasible if UNMEB seeks semi autonomy from the amorphous Ministry of Education and Sports.
“A vote means you are no longer a sub accounting officer, you are negotiating in your own capacity. But now, for her (Kataratambi) to negotiate, she has to go through the PS (Permanent Secretary) of the Ministry of Education,” Mafabi illustrated.