District leaders in Ntungamo, Kabale and Rukungiri have appealed to Parliament to legislate a law to stop creation of new administrative units and reduce the size of Parliament in order to reduce cost of public administration and improve efficiency. They were meeting members of Parliament’s Appointments Committee on Tuesday.
They said the creation of new districts, municipalities, and town councils has diminished funding for the local governments and increased the burden of administrative costs which has crippled service delivery to the people.
Parliament and the government generally should listen to the cries of the local government leaders and make appropriate redress to the issues they raised. What they said are not new. Everybody knows how the creation of numerous districts and other administrative units have affected service delivery both at the local and national level. But the government has kept a deaf ear as if there is no problem at all.
Government is investing heavily in national programmes to alleviate poverty, create jobs, industrialise the country and move Uganda to middle income status. However, these ideals cannot be achieved if the country continues to waste money on redundant public administration.
The ideals of decentralisation have also been defeated. Decentralisation was meant to give local governments more power to collect revenue and deliver better services to the people. Instead, local governments have become poorer and increasingly underfunded because the little money they receive or raise goes to finance the administrative costs at the expense of service delivery.
The district leaders meeting in Ntungamo on Tuesday complained that they are understaffed because there is no money for recruitment. These challenges are not just in the three districts of Ntungamo, Kabale and Rukungiri. Nearly all districts and other local governments countrywide are understaffed due to underfunding. This means they cannot execute their mandate efficiently.
Government must eliminate every piece of redundant public administration in order to save and raise money to fund the local governments adequately to facilitate them to deliver services to the people. For example, Uganda does not need the 500-strong Parliament to carry out legislative duties.
Half of the current Parliament is excess manpower, who never even speak or contribute anything in Parliament. They are there as hemorrhagic legislators whose only impact is to drain the national Treasury. We don’t need all these resident district commissioners either.
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