UCU moves to outsource private catering, cleaning and security services
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2021/03/ucu-moves-to-outsource-private-catering-cleaning-and-security-services/
By Dalton Mujuni
If you last visited the Mukono campus of Uganda Christian University (UCU) before December 2020, you will be surprised by the changes that have happened at the dining, security and cleaning departments.
Starting in December, the University outsourced support services in those three sections, eliminating UCU’s oversight to over 100 part-time and full-time staff.
In a November 11 memo to the University staff members, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, Mr. David Mugawe, noted that the changes were intended to cut down the administrative costs amidst the adverse budgetary effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“This decision was made by the University Council after a consultative process involving University Management, academic and administrative leaders following a report by the Business Continuity Committee, which was set up in July 2020,” Mugawe wrote in the memo.
The changes also were intended to save resources to increase the salaries of a smaller number of full-time staff especially after a recent promise by the new Vice-Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, to raise salaries for full-time staff.
While some previous staff members were able to re-invent themselves into entrepreneurs as part of the outsourced services, the changes left some staff members unemployed and financially crippled.
Dan Mubiru who was laid off from the cleaning department said the financial situation after losing his job became very hard to cope with since it was his main source of livelihood.
“I wish this had not happened during the pandemic period because my side businesses had also come to a standstill as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown that started in March, 2020,” said Mubiru.
However, the new service providers have exhibited a high degree of standard and quality that both staff and students say the move to outsource was long overdue.
Richard Ekadu, the manager of the new catering service, said effective January 5, 2021, the students’ Dining Hall transitioned into The Royal Hospitality Restaurant providing new dishes, and a wide service delivery to the entire University.
Ekadu, who was previously in charge of the dining, was allowed to start a private company to provide the catering services under the new privatized arrangement.
“I and three other directors of The Royal Hospitality Restaurant sat and agreed that our stakeholders – the students and staff – are royals and we ought to give them royal services, which is why we branded ourselves as the Royal Hospitality Restaurant,” said Ekadu.
He added that they will introduce Asian and Europeans dishes to serve their customers better while pleasing international students and exposing East African students to new choices.
Richard Ssekitoleko, a technician in UCU’s Information Systems Department, called the change “fantastic,” adding his pleasure with the buffet style that has an entre with salads, stew, ground nuts and greens.
Some students who don’t live on campus also believe that the changes at the dining will reduce their burden of having to pay for expensive meals from outside restaurants. So far lunch at the Royal Hospitality Restaurant goes for sh3500 (about $1) a plate for students and sh5000 ($1.35) for University staff members.
Previously, one would not be served food at the dining unless they had a meal card issued by the University, which was always expensive to pay for at once. But under the new arrangement, anyone can pay for a single plate of food.
Nixon Kamugisha, a technical assistant at the eLearning department, said the dining changes are a convenience. “I can verily say that the challenge of long-distance treks for lunch will no longer be existent,” he said.
The University security services also were taken over by an outside source, Saracen Security Limited. Charles Nahamya the manager of Security Services at UCU, said Saracen is a trusted entity of UCU that has provided commendable security services at the Kampala campus for years.
Saracen’s regional supervisor for Mukono District, Emmanuel Kedi, said his company is humbled by the call to service by UCU and that they will provide safety to the best of their competence.
The tender to clean the University premises at Main Campus went to Seven Star Cleaning Company. David Kivumbi, the Director Estates and Capital Projects at UCU, said that Seven Star cleaning Company also had provided commendable cleaning services at UCU’s Kampala Campus in Mengo.
He added that there has been considerable improvement in sanitation at the main campus considering that the company does things that had never be done at UCU.
“These people have gone a step further by scrubbing walk paths, toilets, and also worked on places that had algae,” said Kivumbi.
Seven Star Cleaning Company is a well-established business entity owned by Rashid Kintu and is based in Kampala Makerere Kampala on Ham Towers.
A reasonable number of the previous staff members at the Cleaning and Catering departments were hired by the new service providers.
Some students also have expressed their satisfaction for some of the new service providers.
“The new security guards use a very sophisticated and effective form of radio call communication, which has strengthened security around the University,” said Mavin Kaddu, a second-year communication student.
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