10 BN FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS PLANNING IN UGANDA.
By Edwin Muhumuza
The United Nations Capital Development Fund has signed a memorandum of understanding with ministry of local government to fund planning in five districts of Uganda.
According to the agreement it will cover districts of Yumbe, Amuria, Omoro, Otuke and Amudat , the most disadvantaged local governments,targeting local governments to plan and manage discretionary funds ,to ensure minimum allocations for construction of meaningful local infrastructure ,improve and ensure economic empowerment of young people and women.
6 sectors set to benefit include Works & Transport,Agriculture & Commercial
Services,Water & Environment,Primary Education,Secondary Education,Primary Healthcare, and Social Development.
Country Head UNCDF,Dmitry Poshidaev,while speaking at the event remarked that most local government not have reliable projects to lend to in that do not meet required standards to qualify for funding.
Under the Local Governments Act, the main sources of funds for the districts is central government transfers – coming as conditional and unconditional grants which are usually not enough.According to the Chief Administrative Officer ,Otuke district ,Joshua Mabia, the fund will help improve their performance as local governments further committing that within five years they will have obtained capacity to compete for the capital markets.
Districts also collect local taxes but revenues are generally very low. While over the past decade of decentralisation, Local governments have lobbied for central government transfers to be increased to 45 percent, the districts’ share has instead been whittled down to 13 percent of the national budget. Of this, 64 percent goes to payment of salaries.It is on this note that Mayor Jinja municipality ,Iddi Batambuze reveals that the fund will go a long way in ensuring that roads ,the airport, ports and education will take off since the 12% from government received against the required 38% is insufficient to spur development.
However as government seeks to play its role in provision of social services, there still exists a wide gap in as far as the private sector is involved.Private sector foundation Uganda, Executive director,Gideo Badagawa wants government to ensure proper physical planning for proper urbanization owing to the fact that urban centres are ‘wildly’ growing posing pressure on resources and therefore the need to involve and partner with the private sector.