National Politics

ULGA: New Financial Reforms Hurting Service Delivery

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By Patson Baraire
Uganda Local Government Association (ULGA) members have said that the new government financial reforms are affecting service delivery because it’s being done without consulting those supposed to implement the reforms.

This was contained in the resolution made by ULGA Western Region at a one day meeting that took place at Hotel Riverside in Rukungiri Municipality on Feb 14th 2020.

Uganda Local Government Western Region is composed of 36 Districts drawn from Greater Bunyoro, Toro, Rwenzori, Ankole and Kigezi Sub Regions and it’s composed of all LC 5 Chairpersons, District Speakers , Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) and their counterpart at LC 3 local government with an aim of forming one voice to lobby for bigger funding from Central Government, Donors and Private Sector.

According to ULGA Vice President for Western Region Patrick Besigye Keihwa who is also the LC 5 Chairman for Kabale District, the Government of Uganda has introduced reforms in Local Government financial management which require that all the revenue collected from the District and Lower Local Governments must first be remitted to the National Treasury and a request be made by respective Chief Administrators to have the money released so that its use can easily be audited and followed.

However Mr Patrick Keihwa noted that such funds when remitted to the center are delayed to be brought back and on some occasions it’s never brought yet there is overwhelming demand from m the voters to work on budgeted  projects .

“The small tax we collect is taken to Kampala and some of it is not returned or it’s delayed. ” Besigye Keihwa said.
He also said that the continued remittance of 11% by the Central Government to Lower Local Governments also remains a challenge because it’s little money to fund the many projects being undertaken by the districts and the sub counties .
Chairman Keihwa said that ULGA is however in touch with President Museveni who is the Patron of their Association to ensure that that Central Government remittance to Local Governments is increased to 25% so that the Districts can meet the challenges of implementanting Government programs and projects.

In his welcome remarks, Rukungiri District LC 5 Chairman Andrewson Charles Kateebire said that ULGA existence has helped the district to achieve it’s mission which is premised on serving the community through coordinated service delivery which is focused on national priorities and significant local needs for social transformation and economic development.

Kateebire pointed out that as Rukungiri District , focus has been put on Road Rehabilitation and Maintainance , provision of Clean safe water , mainstreaming environmental management into development programs and increasing revenue generation among many others.
During the meeting, Bushenyi District LC 5 Chairman Jaffer Basajjabalaba however lamented that insufficient local revenues have impacted negatively coupled with persistent budget cuts from Central Government have impacted negatively on ability by Local Governments to deliver services to the people and therefore , there is need for the Central Government to look into this pressing need.

 “Local revenues for many districts in the region is very limited and high dependacy on funding from the Central Government is compromising the decentralisation policy” Basajjabalaba lamented.

The participants also agreed to put in place strict measures to protect the environmental degradation especially charcoal burning to mitigate the negative impact of climate change because it was discovered that some leaders were looking on when the environment is being destroyed.
The members however adopted a resolution that allows District Speakers and LC 3 Chairpersons to contest for ULGA Presidency since they are bonafide members and also lobby from President Museveni to help them get means of transport like he did to LC 5 Chairpersons.

In her report, the Secretary General of ULGA Gertrude Rose Gamwera Aijuka said that Local Governments need to step up and support their leaders in mobilisation and lobbying as one voice on all matters concerning decentralisation and more importantly the need to sensitize members on the role played by ULGA so that their expectations are achieved.

“It’s imperative that Local Governments rise above exisiting challenges and work towards rebuilding the Association to voice out their concerns” She said in her written report. 
The meeting was attended by about 500 delegates drawn from all districts in 37 districts of Western Uganda