Kampala. Districts across the country have registered improved performances in the 2018/2019 Local Government Performance Assessment, the just released report indicates.
The report, released in Kampala by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) yesterday, also presents surprise performances from districts that had performed poorly in the previous year’s assessment, emerging top this year.
The assessment was done from September to October 2018, and covered 144 of the 162 districts and municipalities that were operational in the 2017/2018 financial year.
Bukedea and Adjumani districts topped the list of best performing districts, with scores of 82 per cent, closely followed by Kumi at 81 per cent, while Butambala, Buikwe districts and Apac Municipal Council all tallied at 80 per cent, topping the list of best performers.
The stellar performance earned Adjumani District an additional Shs33m allocation by the central government for health service delivery, taking the total for this coming year to Shs73m.
At the tail end, Rubanda District and Kotido Municipality tallied at a paltry 36 per cent, followed by Buliisa District as third worst performing district, scoring 39 per cent.
The biggest movers in the rankings were Bukedea from 135th in 2017/2018 to number one and Ngora from 136th to 7th position.
Masindi Municipality, the winners in last year’s assessment, dropped to 37th position, while last year’s runner-up, Butambala, moved to 4th position.
Ibanda Municipality that came 3rd last year, dropped to 53rd, while Kyegegwa District was relegated from 4th to 99th position.
Those not assessed
Six districts that started operations on July 1, 2019, were not assessed together with municipalities implementing the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) programmes. Officials said the municipalities are assessed under a different programme.
Mr Ben Kumumanya, the Local Government ministry permanent secretary, attributed the good performance of Bukedea and Ngora to introduction of performance improvement programmes, that he said targeted districts in Teso sub-region that had persistently performed poorly in implementations.
“We had to sit down and find out what exactly went wrong, why these districts were performing poorly, so we organised and moved to the districts and helped them in areas where there were difficulties and I am glad that they have excelled this year,” he said.
Ms Christine Guwatudde Kintu, the permanent secretary in OPM, said: “This assessment provides incentives and management practices in administration, good governance, accountability and identify challenges and findings constraining service delivery in local governments and proposes recommendations to address them.”
She said the assessment will contribute to the general monitoring and evaluation of the local government systems.
Mr Gonzaga Mayanja, an assistant commissioner in OPM, who presented the report, said they are working with the ministries of Health and Education to roll out the assessment to specific service delivery entities that get finances directly from the Consolidated Fund
“Every mark you get has an implication on the allocation of resources, if you perform better, you get slightly higher resources, if you perform poorly, you get a decline in the resources,” Mr Mayanja said.
Ms Mary Karooro Okurut, the minister in charge of General Duties at OPM, said those districts that have not performed well need to improve, while those that have excelled must maintain their stands. She said government will continue to support those districts that have not done well so that they improve.
She said the assessment is one of the reforms government introduced to improve accountability and ensure what is provided for reaches the intended targets.
Ms Karooro asked the Ministry of Local Government and other line ministries to closely work with the districts to ensure resources are provided and the local governments are able to perform.
“The focus is to ensure that the resources transferred to the districts are efficiently used and accounted for. I encourage the relevant MDAs [ministries, departments and agencies] to extend support to the local governments. The Local Government ministry should support the districts that are not performing well through performance improvement programmes so that they improve on service delivery,” she said.
However, Mr Godfrey Kuruhiira, the secretary of the Administrative Staff Association, punched holes in the assessment, saying while the exercise focused on compliance, it failed to trace whether the accountability tallies with actual service delivery on the ground.
He said some of the accounting officers could easily forge timely accountabilities and get good marks, while the actual service delivery is wanting.
“We are still assessing processes and compliance, we haven’t assessed real delivery. You would be surprised to find that those who timely submitted PBS [Performance Budgeting System] may not have results compared to those who delayed to submit the reports, so the system still has challenges that need to be addressed,” Mr Kuruhiira said.
Mr Kuruhiira said understaffing and appropriate staffing levels affect compliance by the district leaders, which leads to delays in submitting the relevant documents.
The best performing district leaders have welcomed the rankings, saying it demonstrates the commitments they have made over a period of time.
Mr Charles Kumakech Oluba, the Bukedea District Chief Administrative Officer, welcomed their top ranking, saying they worked hard for it.
“This means that we are meeting the requirements, we have set our priorities right and we have realigned our programmes and resources for the right purposes. It means we are correctly implementing the government programmes and policies,” Mr Kumakech said.
Mr Kumakech said to reach where they are today, they had to put in extra efforts to achieve their targets.
Mr Sam Leku, the Adjumani District chairperson, said their focus was on providing services which are dear to the communities and their survival.
He said with good coordination and team work, they achieved their targets.
“What we did was to do the right coordination. To us, it was not a surprise because two years ago, we were ranked best in health service delivery. This boils down to commitment and with dedicated and committed staff of both technical and political leaders, we have achieved this. We are not winning these to have records, but to deliver services to our people. We want to maintain that record of being the top, but also do it with more points and we are determined to improve on our performance,” Mr Leku said.
Units assessed. The assessment was done from September to October 2018, covering 144 of the 162 local government votes (district and municipal local governments) that were operational in 2017/2018 financial year.
Four firms were contracted by OPM, with each assigned a region, to carry out the assessment.
What was assessed
• Accountability requirements
• Timely submission of annual performance contracts
• Timely submission of procurement plan
• Timely submission of quarterly budget performance report
• Timely submission of annual budget performance report
• Follow up on audit report
• Status of audit opinion
• Cross-cutting, education health, and water performance focus
• Planning, budgeting and execution
• Human resource management
• Revenue mobilisation
• Procurement and contract management
• Financial management
• Governance, oversight, transparency and accountability
• Social and environmental safeguards
• Monitoring and inspection.
The district rankings
9. Njeru M. C
10. Kira M.C
14. Sheema M.C
15. Mukono M.C
56. Lugazi M.C
91. Iganga MC
123. Bushenyi- Ishaka
140. Kapchorwa M.C
143. Kotido MC