Lack of funds cripples  Gulu’s garbage disposal


What you need to know:

  • Since the city became operational in July last year, waste management has been an issue due to rapid urbanisation, population growth and rising standards of living.

Gulu City Council is grappling with poor garbage and waste management following government’s delayed remittance of funds, authorities have said.

Since the city became operational in July last year, waste management has been an issue due to rapid urbanisation, population growth and rising standards of living.

According to the health inspector’s office, the city collects only 30 tonnes out of 130 of solid waste daily.

In September last year, the city council received four new garbage trucks from KFW Bank and GIZ under the Integrated Programme.

However, Mr Alfred Okwonga, the city mayor, last week said they cannot adequately utilise the trucks due to failure to get money to fuel them or facilitate the operators.

Mr Okwonga said they have gone for several months without receiving funding from the government for city operations.

“We have been finding a big challenge in waste management because the Ministry of Finance takes a longer period to approve the requests for funds that we make for our operations,” he said.

Although garbage collection is dependent on local revenue, Mr Okwonga said they do not have the funds since the money is deposited with the ministry under the Integrated Revenue Administration System (IRAS), and can only be refunded upon request.

He said the delay has made it difficult to maintain the beauty and hygiene of most parts of the city with exception of Gulu Main Market. The new policy allows the council to use revenue from the market to collect garbage.

The city has so far collected about Shs1.84b in revenue.

Mr Jessy Johnson, the spokesperson of the Gulu City Development Forum, said  people dump rubbish on the roadsides because the garbage skits are filled up.

Earlier, the Local Government minister, Mr Raphael Magyezi, warned the city authorities against poor garbage disposal and management.

“There should be no more excuses for garbage littering the streets of Gulu City. With all these standard equipment in your possession, Gulu City is now expected to be one of the cleanest in the country,” Mr Magyezi said.

But Mr Patrick Oola Lumumba, the Gulu West mayor,  said services have been paralysed.

“We are going to sit for a joint council meeting and see how we can disown the IRAS system since the method appears to be frustrating our efforts as leaders,” Mr Oola said.

Petition President Museveni

In March, some city and division councillors petitioned President Museveni over a failure by the Finance ministry to remit operational funds. “Why has Finance and Local Government ministries not given us operational funds for six months now yet we have never failed to collect revenue and remit to them? The President has to prevail since we can no longer transact government business and collect garbage,” they wrote. The leaders said they approved a supplementary budget of Shs3.3b when the government appropriated to them only Shs491m.

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