Jinja District council is sourcing for funds to complete the new administration block that is undergoing construction at Magamaga Village, Buwenge Rural Sub-county, about 20kms on the Kamuli Highway.
The building, once completed, is expected to house the new Jinja District offices upon attainment of city status.
Completion of the first phase of Shs4.3b offices was supposed to be completed in July but it is currently behind schedule due to inadequate funds.
While commissioning the project on May 28 last year, the district chairperson, Mr Titus Kisambira, said construction had to be completed by or before July 1, in time for relocate from the city centre.
To kick start construction, the district has been using Shs2.5b that was acquired in 2014 from the sale of land to Bank of Uganda for a currency centre.
On February 24, the district vice chairperson, Ms Florence Asio, tabled a proposal before council chaired by Speaker Michael Nyende Musana, to sell another piece of land that houses the forestry, environment and valuer’s office located on Nile Crescent to bridge the funding gap of Shs1.8b.
The implementation of the resolution to sell the district property has now hit a snag.
Stakeholders, including embattled Jinja Resident District Commissioner Eric Sakwa are still opposing the move after passing the resolution.
Speaking to Daily Monitor on Monday, Mr Sakwa said the Shs2.5b that was previously secured to construct the office is enough.
“The Shs2.5b is a lot of money, including interest that has accumulated because it was on a fixed account. Those who want to sell government property are doing so for their selfish interests and to enrich themselves,’’ he said.
Mr Sakwa further appealed to the Inspectorate General of Government (IGG) to intervene by investigating how the funds were spent.
However, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Mr William Kanyesigye, recently clarified that the previous council decided that accrued interests on the Shs2.5b that was on a fixed account be embedded in local revenue.
Mr David Aga Isabirye, the councillor representing Bugembe Town Council, said there was no need for the district to construct an office that will consume Shs4.3b yet the money that was budgeted for was only Shs2.5b.
“If the district has failed to raise enough money, let them use the Shs2.5b to finish only the ground floor, while the remaining floor will be finished by committing money every financial year to that cause,” he said.
The Local Government minister, Mr Raphael Magyezi, on May 28 ordered for the immediate halting of sale, lease and exchange of land, buildings and other assets of the Local Government in municipalities that have been elevated to cities and those yet to earn city status.
He gave the directive in Gulu Town while presiding over the launch of a report on the impact of Covid-19 on Local Government fiscal space and service delivery in Uganda.
Mr Magyezi’s orders followed a suggestion by Mr Majid Batambuze, the chairperson of Urban Authorities Association of Uganda (UAAU), who also doubles as the Jinja Mayor, that the new cities be allowed to take over district assets currently situated within the city areas.
Mr Magyezi said they need land and building for the new cities.
He said district and municipalities have already approached the ministry, seeking permission to sell or lease properties within the areas to be annexed into the new cities.
Jinja District Speaker Nyende said if the minister has halted the sale of government property, the only option is now for the Central Government to rescue them.