President Yoweri Museveni has met with the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee on Local Governments. They presented to him a report on the findings on the performance of accounting officers of District Local Governments and Municipal Councils countrywide and irregularities in service delivery to the public.
On the issue of insufficient resources that the central governments gives to districts, President Museveni advised that politicians and the administrative class should learn from the experience of the NRM, where scarce resources were used to achieve maximum impact.
He said Local governments need to prioritise especially because there are scarce resources.
“Not every thing can be done at the same time. Although the budget for local governments has been increased from Shs5b to Shs32000b, it is an illusion to think you can be every where and do everything at the same time”.
Local governments should therefore prioritise roads, electricity, health, education and defense. And as the resource envelope increases, tackle other areas, he said.
“I agree with the committee that there is a lot of dishonesty in local governments. Even the little resources we have are stolen. Government does not condone this, we are going to terminate the services of these officers and prosecute them”.
On taxes imposed by districts, although our economy is small with few tax points, President said he discourages the idea of taxing the poor. For instance in Lukaya, you tax gonja sellers and mchomo sellers. Why don’t you leave them and collect the annual tax only? Let them make money, they will purchase other goods that are already taxed like alcohol.
Regarding the education, he said he totally agrees with the committee about the corruption in the sector. The current minister has seen it and reforms are underway. There is need for a total overhaul there. Recently, someone in procurement was sacked. Government will do a technical audit of the schools.
About creation of districts, some of them were created because of ethnicity and others for geographical reasons like Moyo and Adjumani which are separated by water.
“But some people now want districts for greedy reasons. We can halt creation of districts for some years if we agree. We are spending 40% of the budget on the wage and administrative bills. They can wait till we have more money”.