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Under Funding Of Local Gov'ts Undermining Decentralisation Policy-Experts

According to the planned expenditure, 82% of the budget will be managed by the central government, while local governments get 16%, which the experts say is too little to enable local governments operate effectively.
11 Jun 2021 18:40

Audio 4

Experts have called for more decentralization of the management of national resources to make sure that they are spent at the lowest levels of government as much as possible.

Much as Uganda operates a decentralization system of government, the central government accounts for most of the expenditure, as reflected in the national budgets including the 2021/22 budget.

According to the planned expenditure, 82% of the budget will be managed by the central government, while local governments get 16%, which the experts say is too little to enable local governments to operate effectively.

The other 2% is due to be shared equally between foreign missions and referral hospitals.

Policy analyst Ramathan Ggoobi says with this kind of budgeting, there is no way there can be effective service delivery because the local governments are largely incapacitated.

He however says the situation is helped by the expenses of the central government within the local governments, where it spends 54% of the resources to the districts, on development programs.

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Speaking at a post-budget conference organized by the Institute of Public Accountants of Uganda, ICPAU, some experts wondered if the issue of decentralizing resources can be solved by the planned Parish Model of Development.

Some, however, wondered about the applicability of the program which they think was not well studied before being decided on.

Under the model, the government has, among other things absorbed most of the wealth funds like the Youth Livelihood Program, Uganda Women Empowerment Program, Peace Recovery, and Development Plan among others.

The parish will also be the lowest level of government planning and implementation. Ggoobi however, says the idea had been around as early as 2008, but that some people have been fighting it because it would plug some gaps for corruption at some levels. He says if it was well and honestly implemented it would have a great impact. 

   

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Prof Twaha Kaawaase, also a Deputy Prime Minister of Buganda proposed that the Parish Model would be better administered or implemented under a regional governance system which would give a more stable and predictable environment for planners.

He reasons that the districts are becoming a difficult centre of administration because every time and then, their sizes change and new and smaller units are created, hence disrupting programs and service implementation.

On his Part, Ggoobi says this makes sense and it should be put before the government for discussion.

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He says the current system where the central government designs programs targeted for regions does not favour the success of the project.

Citing the numerous programs that have been made for and implemented for the development of northern Uganda, saying they have not born any fruit, despite billions of shillings spent on them.

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