Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Parliament have tasked government to expeditiously process funds meant to operationalise the new local government units which they say have been rendered redundant.
The Tororo district woman MP, Sarah Opendi, during the Parliament sitting of Tuesday, 29 March 2022, raised a matter of national importance where she asked government to explain the delayed disbursement of money to the newly created sub-counties and town councils, when Parliament passed a supplementary budget to that cause.
“You recall that the Supplementary Appropriation Bill was laid before this House and this House approved the supplementary expenditures. However to date, the new administrative units have not received any funding,” Opendi said.
Opendi laid bare that for the past nine months, sub-county chairpersons in her district have not received any salary and funds to run their offices. She asked the Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, whether Parliament was right to ignore such a critical matter moreover when the financial year is close to the end.
“Is it procedurally right for us to receive these policy statements without knowing why funding has not been extended to local governments to run the new administrative units and yet we are about to conclude this financial year?” she asked.
Tayebwa reiterated that it was urgent that the new local government units receive money if the Parish Development Model is to benefit the entire country. He noted that some sub-counties had already received money for the programme and wondered how the new units which are not even functional will catch up.
“This is critical we have already launched the Parish Development Model, some districts have already received money, what is the finance ministry doing? This is one of the most urgent issues,” said Tayebwa.
The Deputy Speaker, however, clarified that although Parliament passed government’s request to borrow money to finance the new administrative units in March 2022, the Committee of National Economy which is in charge of processing such requests has not been able to meet due to the death of the former Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah.
He tasked the committee to urgently process the request and have the report ready by the next sitting.
The Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development (General Duties), Henry Musasizi, reiterated that his ministry is currently constrained to finance the new local governments. He said the ministry’s hope is in the loan request that is before the same committee.
“I would like to implore colleagues and stakeholders to be patient with us,” said Musasizi.