Government is in advanced stages of procuring more than motorcycles for sub county, town councils and municipal division chairpersons and about 70,000 bicycles for village chairpersons, the minister of Local Government, Raphael Magyezi has revealed.
Magyezi told a meeting of Karamoja local government leaders at Kidepo Valley National Park in Karenga district that the procurement process of the bicycles and motorcycles is ongoing since the funds have already been released to the ministry.
“I can confirm that already, we have the money in the Ministry of Local Government to buy motorcycles for LC III chairpersons and bicycles for LC I chairpersons. A tender for the bicycles has just been advertised but the one for motorcycles came earlier and I think in one week, we shall sign the contract,” Magyezi said.
Government is likely to spend more than Shs 10 billion to buy motorcycles for each of the more than 1,450 LC III chairpersons in the country.
The pledge to give the motorcycles for the LC III was made in 2009 but its implementation was halted in May last year after irregularities were cited in the procurement process.
This happened four years after the former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Local Government, John Muhanguzi Kashaka, and three other senior officials of the same ministry were convicted by the Anti-corruption court for causing financial loss of more than Shs 4.2 billion meant for the purchase of 70,000 bicycles for village chairpersons, pledged by President Yoweri Museveni during the 2011 elections.
Magyezi promised transparency in the new procurements further saying that besides the motorcycles and bicycles, the government is also considering the possibility of improving salaries of the sub-county chairpersons and staff as it seeks to improve service delivery at the lower local government level.
“Together with [Uganda Local Governments Association] ULGA, we are working on a proposal for next budget improved welfare and pay for local government chairpersons, councilors and staff but it has to go through the Ministry of Public Service,” Magyezi said.
Magyezi also revealed that he had held discussions with Museveni over the possibility of allowing outgoing district chairpersons to take the vehicles that were allocated to them.
In February 2016, the government spent more than Shs 11 billion to procure brand new double-cabin pick-up trucks for each of the then existing 112 district chairpersons.