March 20, 2013

URA Seizes Shs400m Gulu Municipal Council Funds

URA boss Allen Kagina
URA boss Allen Kagina

An estimated 400 million shillings meant for financing development projects in Gulu Municipality has been seized by URA following a tax dispute.

URA accuses Gulu Municipal Council of failing to remit Pay as You Earn-PAYE and taxes that are collected from local contractors.The Town Clerk Gulu Municipal Council, John Beyingana explains that URA has instructed three commercial banks to recover 400 million shillings from the council bank accounts.

He says as a result several development programs that were budgeted for the 2012/2013 have now stalled over lack of money. He says the money was earmarked from roads and classroom construction.

Beyingana says the council solely relies on unconditional grants from central government to fund development projects because of low local revenue collection. George Labeja, the Mayor Gulu municipal council blames technocrats for deducting money for taxes and failing to remit it.

Labeja says part of the money that has been confiscated by URA was meant for building a bridge that links Ayuwe parish to Gulu town and staff quarters at Ayuwe Health Center. In Ayuwe the residents want the council to urgently address their needs which include paving a road and constructing a bridge that links the health center and schools in the area to Gulu town.

Charles Odongkara, the Defense secretary Ayuwe ward says that residents find it hard to access Ayuwe Health Center II during rainy season because the road that links it to Gulu town is cut off by floods.

He says the floods prevent both the patients and the medical personnel from accessing the health unit. Odongkara appeals to the local authority to urgently fix the bridge. Education is also being affected as flash floods from the stream prevent children from accessing their schools.

Selesius Ochan, the Headmaster Alliance High School explains that the stream sometimes gets over flooded and cuts off the road linking Gulu town to the area. He says students and teachers sometimes fail to reach the school.

Gulu Municipal Council has recorded poor performance since the current councilors took office in 2010. During the recent council meeting the councilors led by the Speaker Kelly Komakech instead blamed Mayor Labeja for failing to supervise the implementation of government projects in the municipality. They blamed him for perpetually staying out of office.

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