Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) deputy Speaker, Buruhan Mugisha Byaruhanga wants the government to increase its budgetary allocations to the city authority since Kampala generates over 70 percent of the country’s GDP.
Byaruhanga who spoke exclusively to The Witness said that because of the meagre transfers from government to KCCA service delivery in the city has been crippled.
Over three million people call Kampala Metropolitan area home but the area is grappling with poor service delivery due to inadequate funding.
“We do not have an adequate budget as KCCA. What we think can be done is to negotiate with the Central government to pick a percentage of the National Budget and finance the work plan of KCCA and we stop burdening the traders with double taxation such that the leadership we have in KCCA both political and technical mainly concentrate on service delivery and encouraging the citizenry to pay the URA taxes,” he noted.
For instance, in the 2018/19 financial year, Shs 477.62 billion out of Shs 32.7 trillion national budget was appropriated to KCCA but only Shs 326.73 billion was released by the Ministry of Finance.
For the 2019/2020 financial year, Parliament Shs 509.63 billion was allocated to KCCA out of Shs 40.5 trillion national budget for the same year.
Byaruhanga argues this state of affairs needs to change so that at least 5 percent of the national budget is reserved for the development of Kampala.
“If we got about 5% of the country’s total GDP we should be able to get resources enough to run the activities of KCCA without going out to collect from the people. If that is done, I think we shall have given back to our community, we shall have given relevancy to the people why they should pay taxes and also we shall have been given ample time to mainly concentrate on services and monitor the services being given,” he argued.
His remarks come a month since the operationalization of eight new cities. These are Mbale, Gulu, Soroti, Mbarara, Arua, Fort Portal, Masaka and Jinja. He dismissed fears that the new cities could also ask for preferential treatment from government.
“What we think we are demanding as Kampala is our fair share. If other cities also believe that they can also generate as much revenue as Kampala towards the country’s GDP, then let them make the claim otherwise their funding solely relies on Kampala,” he said.
“So we are not asking for what other cities have collected but a percentage of what is collected from the people of Kampala,” he added.
Byaruhanga – who is contesting in the Nakawa Mayoral race on the NRM ticket welcomed the recent amendments to the KCCA Act that created the office of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. He observed the amendments remove the ambiguity that existed around the office of the Lord Mayor and the five Urban Council Mayors in Kampala and affected service delivery.
He is hinging his mayoral bid on three pillars of improving education, health care as well as unity in diversity.
“I want to continue providing bursaries to the parents both at my own school and also at the schools of my friends who we shall be inviting on a yearly basis on what we shall dub the Education symposium,” he said.
Emphasis will also be put on setting up a system that monitors and supervises health centres to improve service delivery, as well as improve sanitation.
He laughed off the threat posed by the new National Unity Platform (NUP) to the NRM in Kampala. Outgoing Nakawa Mayor Engineer Ronald Balimwezo and several other leaders at KCCA early this month joined the MP Robert Kyagulanyi led NUP in what many critics argued posed a direct threat to the ruling NRM party heading to the 2021 polls.
“I don’t think the voting pattern has got anything to do with political parties. For example, he (Balimwezo) was elected mayor but his council had mainly NRM councilors. Over 80% of them were NRM so the trend of voting is going to be determined by what kind of manifesto are we as contenders providing to our people,” he said.