Last week, the Ministry of Finance, released a total of 5.8 trillion Shillings to facilitate government institutions in the second quarter of the year, covering the months of October, November and December 2021. Luwero district received 15.4 billion Shillings to cater for wages and development programmes among other activities during the same period.
File Photo ; Minister Rapheal Magyezi after closing a special general meeting of Urban Authorities Association of Uganda at Nimrod Hotel in Luweero town last year
The Local Leaders of newly created town councils in Luwero
district are furious after the Ministry of Finance, Planning and
Economic Development failed to release funds to run their activities in the second quarter of the financial year.
Local Government Minister Raphael
Magezi had promised that the government would provide funds for the
operationalization of the administrative units in the financial year 2021/22. There were high hopes among LC III Chairpersons and councils that the new administrative units would be funded during this quarter, after missing out on the first release.
Last week, the Ministry of Finance, released a total of 5.8 trillion Shillings to facilitate government institutions in the second quarter of the year, covering the months of October, November and December 2021. Luwero district received 15.4 billion Shillings to cater for
wages and development programmes among other activities during the same period.
However, the Ministry of Finance released no single coin
towards the operations of the new town councils in the district which include Kamira, Ndejje, Busiika, Zirobwe and Kikyusa. The town councils came into force in January 2020.
Pascal Imarachi, the LC III Chairperson of Zirobwe Town Council
says that they were hopeful that the government was to fund their activities this financial year after they were democratically elected and sworn in as
leaders. He said that although they are already occupying offices, there is nothing they can do without funding.
Imarachi added that even the little revenue that is collected
is banked on District General Fund Account and forwarded to National
Treasury before they apply for it. “We are tired. The government must tell us to close the new town
councils if they don’t want to fund their activities,” Imarachi said.
Paul Salabwa, the LC III Chairperson of Kikyusa Town Council
said that due to lack of funding, he is currently digging into his pocket to
fund office work for the town council. He adds that all other services and planned activities have stalled citing a plan to open up roads and construct
schools in the communities.
“I am currently paying for town council office rent and I gave out my private conference hall to host meetings for councillors. The government should come to our rescue and consider the town council for funding”
Kikyusa Town Council has so far collected 12.6 million Shillings in
local revenue since the financial year began in the month of July 2021. The town has been able to successfully secure only 4.2 out of 12.6 million Shillings back from local revenue deposits to execute government work.
Edward Ssenyonjo, the LCIII Chairman of Kamira Town Council
says that he has resorted to community service, mobilizing residents to address demands like road opening after failing to get funding.
“We are under pressure from residents who voted for us because they don’t
see anything we are doing since we came into office. The government approved the
town councils and it must fund them to enable us to extend services to the people...,” Ssenyonjo
Elizabeth Namanda, the Luwero District Chief Administrative
Officer acknowledged the challenges but said they have no budget or releases
towards the activities of the newly created town councils. Namanda added that she is also waiting for the Ministry of
Finance to consider funding the town councils but hastened to add that the government allowed them to pay salaries to the LCIII Chairpersons.
Efforts to reach Matia Kasaija the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development on funding of the new town councils and sub-counties were
unsuccessful. But in his budget circular dated September 15, 2021, to accounting officers of Local
Governments, Ramathan Ggoobi, the Permanent
Secretary of the Ministry of Finance
said that operationalization of newly created town councils and sub-counties
Ggoobi directed the district accounting officers not to
plan to allocate resources to newly created town councils and sub-counties
until funds are made available or advised otherwise. He also directed accounting officers to maintain boundaries
of new sub-counties and town councils under the previous mother sub-counties.
also informed them that the Performance Budgeting System (PBS) has been locked not to allow entry of new administrative
units and will be opened when funds
are available to operationalize the town councils or sub-counties. The directives affect 364 sub-counties and 352 town councils
which recently were created in different parts of the country.