Central government retaining Shs1 trillion for local governments - study

Saturday May 18 2019

Mr Arthur Bainomugisha of ACODE and MP Godfrey

Mr Arthur Bainomugisha of ACODE and MP Godfrey Onzima 

By MARTIN LUTHER OKETCH

Kampala. A study conducted by Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) has revealed that a total of Shs1 trillion which go to local governments is being held at the central government level.
ACODE explains that the overall, objective of the study is to influence budget reallocations; particularly public resources meant to be appropriated directly to local governments but are instead appropriated to the ministries, agencies and departments (MDAs), which are used to implement activities in the local governments at a higher cost, hence affecting the quality of service delivery at the grassroots levels.

Presenting the study at a breakfast meeting at Kampala Serena Hotel on May 16, Economics lecturer at Makerere University Business School (Mubs), Mr Ramthan Ggoobi, said the sector ministries are the problem because it is where the money which would be allocated directly to local governments goes and get held up there.
“Budget allocations to MDAs that are under LG mandate are as follows: Agriculture Shs342 billion, Education Shs257.2 billion, Health Shs217.8 billion, Water Shs194.4 billion, Works Shs96.1 billion, and Social Development Shs17.1 billion, which equals to Shs1.006 trillion,” Mr Ggoobi said.

He said the money is being under the sector ministries through MDAs and as such it affects the local government abilities to provide quality services to the general public in the local areas.
He further explained that out of the total budget for Financial Year 2019/20, Shs3.6 trillion which represents 9.2 per cent of the total budget for FY2019/20 was allocated through unconditional, conditional, and equalisation grants; projects and donor funding.

Release the money
The executive director of ACODE, Mr Arthur Bainomugisha, said the money being held at the central government should be released since there is decentralisation policy which government implemented many years ago.
“At ACODE, we have for the last nine years promoted political accountability and influenced the engender budgeting,” he said.
The secretary general of Uganda Local Government Association, Ms Gertrude Gimera, said local governments have the responsibility to help the central government achieve its policy agenda and development programmes in the country.

“Over the years, we continued to have a downward trend in budget allocations to the Local Governments. I hope that our government will able one to make a 38 per cent budget allocations to the as local governments,” she said.

The chairperson of on Public Service and Local Government committee in Parliament, Mr Godfrey Onzima, said when decentralisation policy was first made in this country, that policy would take services nearer to the people but over times, there has been diversion through re-centralisation because the sector ministries are holding the monies which should go to the local governments.
“Monies that are supposed to go to the local governments must go,” he said.
Mr Onzima added: “The the person letting down local governments is the Ministry of Finance because they are the ones who have allowed the money to stay at central government level.”

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