What you need to know:
Tororo District has approved a budget of Shs71.1 billion for the Financial Year 2023/2024, with education getting Shs34billion and health getting Shs 16 Billion as the top two sectors.
The LC5 vice chairperson, Ms Rebecca Akumu told Daily Monitor at the weekend that this is aimed at improving education and access to better health services, especially in the hard-to-reach sub-counties in the district.
“Most of the money allocated to education will go for construction of classroom blocks and pit-latrines, among others, in order to improve academic performance,” said Ms Akumu, who also doubles as the secretary for finance and administration.
Locals and leaders had for long expressed concern about the status of structures of most government-aided primary schools in the district.
Among the affected schools include Osukuru, Ngelechom and Mudakori, where pupils study under trees due to inadequate classrooms and also desks.
Ms Catherine Opio, a resident and vendor in Tororo Central Market, said most of the government-aided primary schools are dilapidated or lack adequate structures.
“The schools have no doors and windows and some of the structures are on the verge of collapse but our leaders cannot see beyond that. They only want to satisfy their stomachs,” she said at the weekend.
Ms Richard Opolot, another resident, said: “The school head teachers say grants that the government sends to schools are too meager to cater for the smooth running of the schools. Some schools have no desks so pupils sit on the floor.”
Mr Wilfred Odeke, another resident, said he was happy that the health department has been given money to, among others, construct maternity wards at Health Centre 111s.
In the budget, which was passed last Friday, other sectors such as administration were allocated Shs9b, production and marketing Shs5billion, roads, water and engineering Shs4b, and Shs2b has been earmarked for statutory bodies.
Community-based services were allocated Shs1.2b, natural resources Shs439m, finance Shs414m and the planning department Shs283m.
The councillor representing Magola Sub-county, Mr Samuel Odongo, moved a motion to approve the Shs71.1 billion budget and it was supported by Ms Oliver Opio, the councillor representing Kirewa Sub-county.
Ms Akumu said the district hopes to finance the budget through locally generated revenue of about Shs3 billion and Shs 69 billion shillings from the central government and donors.
The councillor representing Merikit Sub-county, Mr Patrick Opoli, said the activities to be financed in the next financial year will only be successful if there is no corruption by technocrats.
“We want to improve service delivery because that is the only way our people can benefit and vote us back if we seek re-election,” he said.
Mr James Faustin Mageni, a resident and a businessman in Tororo Town, said accused leaders of corruption and derailing service delivery.
“Instead of fighting for service delivery, they are busy demanding bribes to enrich themselves yet we send them to represent us,” Mr Mageni said.
Ms Sarah Apadet Okumu, the councilor representing Western Division in Tororo Municipality, said the welfare of councilors who oversee the budget activities should also be put into consideration.
“We had opted to defer approving the budget because of accumulated arrears of monthly monitoring allowances for the past ten months and sitting allowances,” she said.
Her statement points to the recent gridlock at the district council over the welfare of councilors.
The Speaker of the district council, Ms Betty Andera Osapat, adjourned three consecutive sittings as councillors protested, calling for clearance of their allowances for monitoring projects and council sittings and ex-gratia.