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Wakiso business committee refuses to scrutinize budget over arrears

Wakiso district boss Matia Lwanga Bwanika and his vice, Betty Naluyima

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Wakiso district business committee has refused to process the district budget for financial year 2020/2021 due to outstanding arrears.

Last week, Raphael Magezi, the Local Government Minister advised that as the country is still under lockdown with a ban on public gatherings, members of the district business committee should meet first to lay the budget and later scrutinize it so that it is just adopted and passed by the entire council after lockdown.

The committee comprises of the district vice-chairperson, the Chief administrative officer, the district speaker and chairpersons of five outstanding committees.

In Wakiso, the committee was summoned to start processing the proposed shillings 80 billion budget. However, members told the Chief Administrative Officer-CAO Luke Lokoda that they will work only if they are paid arrears dating back from 2019.

The members requested a meeting with the CAO. However, the meeting that lasted for over one and a half hours never yielded any positive results.

Moments later the chairpersons stormed out of the meeting.

Tom Muwonge, the chairperson of education committee who is also the councillor representing Kasangati town council says that each of the members is supposed to get 200,000 shillings per sitting. He adds that members of the committee normally meet once in two months and each is demanding 1.8 million shillings in arrears.

“Our arrears have accumulated to shillings 1.8 million for each member. And that is around 10.8 for the six members who have missed out their allowances. We couldn’t go on like that. When we move to another financial year we are very likely to forget about that money,” he said.

Matia Lwanga Bwanika, the Wakiso LCV chairperson notes that he wasn’t aware that the members are demanding arrears since the matter had never been raised. He, however wondered why his fellow leaders would choose to worsen the situation yet they are much aware that the district is in a financial crisis.

“I am a human rights activist and can’t side with technocrats who would want to swindle funds allocated to councillors. However, we are in abnormal situations. The district has no money. We have even failed to offer a mere bar of soap to health workers who are at the forefront of fighting the covid-19 pandemic,” Bwanika observed.

Bwanika tried to strike a deal by asking the committee members to handle the day’s business as they ask the CAO to avail the arrears before the next scheduled meeting.

However, this hit a dead end as the angry members agreed not to do any business until they are paid their arrears.



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