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Finance ministry on spot over local government budgets

Jennifer Namuyangu, the Minister of State for Local Government (M) appearing before parliamentary Public Service and Local Government Committee on Tuesday (PHOTO/PML Daily)

KAMPALA – Minister of State for Local Government, Jennifer Namuyangu has on Tuesday, August 27, appealed to Parliament to compel the Ministry of Finance to reverse budget cuts to urban authorities saying the move has crippled service delivery within local governments.

Hon Namuyangu made the remarks today while meeting with MPs on the Public Service and Local Government Committee who had summoned the Minister to explain the recent budget cuts on the budget of the FY 2019/2020 after local governments threatened not to collect revenue unless the situation is resolved.

Namuyangu told MPs that the resultant effect of the cuts have left local governments incapable of achieving planned activities for the first quarter and have stifled implementation of vital council services like street lighting and garbage collection adding that the decision by the Ministry of Finance were contravention of article 191(3) of the constitution that states that no appropriation of funds by a local govt can be made unless approved through a budget by the local council. She argues finance has usurped the powers of local councils.

“The Ministry of finance should rectify the error committed and rectify Local government budgets as was previously approved by their councils and the failure has led to failure to implement planned activities in 2019/2020. Conflicts because funds are available, political leaders,” said Namuyangu

The Minister further pointed out irregularities in the funds the Finance Ministry allocated to districts with some districts receiving more than they had requested, while some received less than they had requested a move that has thrown local governments in a state of confusion.

Nansana Municipality’s budget was UGX4.2Bn but only UGX250M was received while Namusindwa district requested for UGX250 million and UGX7 billion was received.

The revelation left MPs furious and castigated the Ministry of Finance for throwing Parliament into bad light arguing that voters are now blaming MPs for the mishap and causing the budget cuts with calls for immediate action to rectify the problem.

Susan Amero (Amuria Woman) said the matter must be brought to the attention of the Speaker since the finance ministry’s officials had shunned the meeting and also demanded for an investigation into the Ministry of Finance, saying the institution is harbouring a lot of rot and fraud.

Amero said, “There is a lot of rot in the Ministry of Finance and if I am not mistaken, the Ministry of Finance is likely to bring down the government of NRM because it is sending a lot of signals that people are tired, they don’t know what they are doing and I don’t know why they should be maintained there.”

“This is nasty, it isn’t something anyone would like to talk about. Because donkey work is done by local government and without these resources nothing can happen in this country and the taxpayer is contributing from every angle but when it comes to receiving resources, they get nothing,” added Amero.

It should be recalled, Speaker Kadaga ordered the Committee to look into the matter after Johnson Ssenyonga (Mukono South) informed Parliament that some municipality officials were threatening not to collect revenues if the budget cuts aren’t revised.

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