MASINDI — Antigraft Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) want local governments to adopt electronic revenue collection system to seal corruption loopholes.
Speaking during the Anti-Corruption dialogue held Wednesday, November 24 at Kloping Hotel in Masindi Municipality, Richard Okuku, the Research and advocacy officer with the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) said local governments collect very limited revenues but local people especially traders say they pay for their licenses and most most of these money don’t get into intended offices.
“We have tasked the local governments to put up digital systems of local revenue generation but we realise its the political leaders that actually fight the system of digitizing local revenue,” Mr. Okuku said.
He added: “When you fight a system that generates more revenue than the usual, it means there hidden intentions”.
He said available information shows that political leaders are the ones collecting the revenues from the local traders “and therefore, it would be not in there interest if digitise the local revenue generation system.”
The CSOs also coationed the local leaders that it’s the amount of local revenue collected that determines the amount of sitting allowances they get.
The local government act provides that 20% of all the locally generated revenues shall be used by the local council.
Okuku urged the councilors to adopt the digital revenue generation systems but also stop the corrupt tendencies of collecting revenues directly from the taxpayers —saying these monies don’t get into the coffers of the local government.
In their paper, CSOs urged the ordinary people of Masindi to continuously undertake anti-corruption actions at all levels as individuals and as collective to challenge theft of tax payers’ money.
The paper added that the anti-corruption campaign week was intended to empower citizens to demand for both vertical and horizontal accountability, collect critical evidence to challenge graft as well as naming and shaming individuals, public officers, elected leaders and organizations/companies involved in and or associated with corruption.
On his part, Mr. Cosmos Byaruhanga Masindi District Chairperson said the district leadership tried to implement the cashless revenue system but was fought some of political leaders.
“We should all agree that there’s corruption in Masindi District people need to accept that there’s a big problem. I’m not surprised by the CSOs paper on grey areas on Corruption in Masindi ranging from procurement irregularities, recruitment to shoddy construction works”.
“He said corruption challenges are overshadowed by the local politics around. “When you come out to speak about civil servants misappropriating funds, those involved will term that as politics and they will fight you instead”.