KAMPALA – The State Minister for Planning, David Bahati has told the nation, especially those hoping to reap from the newly created districts to tame their appetite because there is no money to hold elections.
The pronouncement was made Tuesday, March 26, during the plenary sitting when government was expected to update Parliament on when elections would be conducted in the new districts, saying the ministry of Finance is consulting with Attorney General on how to handle the matter saying; “At the moment, there are no resources to spend elections on the new districts.”
However, Mr. Kasiano Wadri, the Arua Municipality Member of Parliament, rejected government statement wondering why it has a high propensity of creating administrative units without planning for resources to hold elections, “If you don’t have the money why go ahead to create new districts raising people’s hopes? You are now talking about next year, what happens if a serious Ugandan takes you to court?”
Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah wondered how Mr. Bahati could feign absence of money yet these districts were from government, the proposal for phasing them out came from government and convinced parliament of the proposal.
“What is the problem, it is about short notice, it is something you proposed, it should be in your work plans,” Mr. Oulanyah said.
Mr. Bahati replied saying: “We don’t have resources at the money. In future, we should rethink of whether to hold elections once. There is no money and unfortunately, we can’t print money.”
Still, Ms. Joy Atim tasked the Ministry of Finance to explain if any communication has been sent out to the mother districts because most of them aren’t ready to budget for new districts, “Have you in your capacity written to the mother districts to tell them to budget as the original district. What have you done to make them know there is no budget for them?”
Mr. Bahati insisted: “The fact is there is a challenge of money, the constitution doesn’t say create the money.”
While appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee recently, the Electoral Commission revealed that districts of: Nabitatuk, Bugweri, Kassanda, Kwania, Kapelebyong and Kikuube were meant to have come into effect by July 1, 2018, and an additional seven districts are meant to come into effect by July 1, 2019, and these include: Obongi, Lusot, Karenga, Kitagwenda, Madi-Okollo, Rwampara and Kazo.
The Commission has not been able to operationalise the four new districts that became effective July 2016, six districts effective July 2017, six districts effective July 2018 and proposed seven districts that will become effective in July 2019.
The annual wage bill and non-wage component for the twenty-three districts is UGX3.5b and UGX3.5b respectively bringing total to UGX6.96b.