Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The operationalization of Masaka city has been delayed due to lack of funds required for several activities. Masaka is among the first batch of seven regional cities that came into force on July 1st, following approvals by the relevant bodies that included Ministry of Local Government, Cabinet and eventually Parliament.
However, the much-awaited new city is still stuck on its previous status of a municipality due to lack of financial resources required to begin its operations.
Apart from changing the label of the mayor’s official vehicle to replace the word municipality with the word “city”, the urban council is yet to undertake other serious technical works in the area.
Godfrey Kayemba, the interim city mayor says that the government committed to allocate 100 billion shillings to each of the new cities as their start-up capital which has not been the case hence causing a standstill in executing of plans.
Kayemba explains that they are still looking up to operating within the previous municipal council budget much of it is also funded by central government transfers.
He is afraid that will be overstretching to work within a budget of 41 billion shillings to offer services to communities in the area including those in areas that were annexed to the city from the neighbouring sub-counties.
Some of the planned activities include citizens’ engagements to make them appreciate the new status, development of new physical master-plan, demarcation and opening up of community access roads, and land acquisition for hosting social facilities of the city.
John Bahengana, the interim Masaka town clerk says that despite the delay of funds, their technical teams are ready to commence with their planned activities as soon the funds are availed.
He says that the various technical staff has already developed their work schedules that will guide their work once the budget is cleared.
In Gulu city, activities like fueling and repairing of the garbage trucks for garbage collection, payment of the staffs, purchasing of office stationery, among others have been halted following the delay in the release of funds.
George Labeja, the interim Gulu city mayor says that the delay in releasing the fund is because the city has not yet received the new code from the Finance Ministry.
Labeja revealed that due to the lack of funding, the activities at his office and that of the town clerk have crippled and that putting signposts in all the city boundaries is on halt as a result of lack of money.
According to Labeja, Gulu city council is currently surviving on the locally raised revenue to help in the city’s operation.
Moses Abonga, the chairman of Laroo division in Gulu East division appealed to the government to speed up the processes of releasing the funds for the first quarter since work amidst the financial crisis has greatly affected public service including garbage collection.