There is finally light at the end of the tunnel for the newly created lower level administrative units. The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development has agreed to release funds for their operationalisation effective next financial year.
According to Local Government minister, Raphael Magyezi, funds for the newly created sub-counties and town councils have been included in the budget for 2021/2022 financial year.
“We shall fund them; we are getting money in the next budget to fund them. They’re about 716 sub-counties and town councils,” Magyezi said.
His revelation comes a week after his junior, Jennifer Namuyangu, told the 25th annual general meeting of the Uganda Local Governments Association (ULGA) in Kasese, that the Ministry of Local Government had rejected a directive by Finance for the new sub-counties and town councils to depend on locally raised revenue for their operations.
Read more: Ministries of Finance, Local Gov’t disagree over sub-counties funding
At least 364 sub-counties and 352 town councils created by the government across the country in 2019 have been non-functional due to a lack of funding.
Magyezi did not disclose how much has been put in the budget for the new administrative units but hastened to add that government had put a stop on the creation of districts and sub-counties.
“I want to send a message to the people, for now, please don’t come to the Ministry to ask for more administrative units… if you want a new district, sub-county or town council, I am saying, not now because we have just come out of an election; we are looking for money to operationalise those which we had already created,” Magyezi said.
Lack of funding has left many local governments limping that some have failed to recruit staff.
For instance, in Kitgum district, the 17 new sub-counties and two town councils have remained nonfunctional due to lack of funds.
They include Lagoro, Labongo Akwang, Labongo Layamo, Kitgum Matidi, Labongo Amida, Namokora, Orom, Omiya Anyima and Mucwini sub-counties.
Jackson Omona, Kitgum District LC V Chairperson told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that only Namokora Town council received Shs 50 million from the Finance ministry last year.
He also says that although the district had sent temporary staff to occupy the positions in the newly created administrative units, they were withdrawn due to financial constraints.
Without the Ministry of Finance sending them any indicative planning figures for the next financial year, Omona said, the district administration will maintain its budget for the nine traditional sub-counties.
He noted that recently the district came out with a draft budget of about Shs 32 billion that doesn’t capture funding for the newly created administrative units.
Omona expressed skepticism on the government’s position to fund the new sub-counties.
He says to date, no communication on planning figures have been passed down to the district accounting officers in respective districts with newly created administrative units.
In Lamwo District, six sub-counties and two town councils were created but only Madi-Opei and Palabek town council got Shs 50 million each for infrastructural development, according to the district chairperson, John Komakech Ogwok.
Ogwok said that the district has already received a budget call circular from the Finance Ministry, a move he says gives hope that government will fund the new administrative units.
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