OPM Auditorium – The ministry of Local Government claimed it achieved 77% of the 2016 -2021 NRM Manifesto commitments.
While addressing the media and Ugandans, the State Minister for Local Government, Jeniffer Namuyanga affirmed that the ministry had delivered beyond a reasonable doubt whilst giving accountability of activities in the last five years.
New branch network to improve service delivery
In a bid to strengthen democracy, good governance and security, the ministry supported 72 local government units to build offices out of the targeted 70 thereby surpassing the target by two.
The supported local government units included 24 newly created districts and 29 municipalities. Among the new districts supported included Kagadi, Bunyangabu, Namisindwa, Pakwach, Bugweri, Kasanda, Terego, Madi-Okollo, and Kwania.
Councilors inducted from 115 districts
At the beginning of the 2016 election term, the ministry inducted councillors who had been elected in 115 districts on their respective roles and responsibilities. This resulted in good working relations. Relatedly, council rules of procedure were printed, disseminated to 135 local government districts. This helped the districts on how to conduct council meetings.
New revenue sources
The ministry identified new revenue sources for local governments. Such sources include the presumption tax and commercial farmers tax. A paper on local government financing is in final stages. In conjunction with URSB, KCCA and URA, the ministry supported the simplification of business registration in Kiira, Jinja, Mukono and Lugazi municipalities. This aimed at improving local government revenue under the e-logrev.
As a result of these interventions, revenue increased by 300%. For example, Jinja Central Division revenue increased from Shs 1.5Bn in 2016/17 to Shs 5bn in 2018/19. Issuance and renewal of Trading License turnaround time reduced from 3days to 25 Minutes. There was a marked reduction of tax administration costs by 80%. “We intend to roll out the programme to more Municipalities,” said Minister Namuyanga.
The ministry managed to provide start up funds to 329 town councils and sub-counties out of the planned 377.
The Ministry has worked with State House to identify land for establishment of Industrial Hubs in 20 Zones. These Industrial Hubs will comprise of 4 components i.e. Skilling Facility; Common User Production Facility and training; Agro Processing Facility and a Four Acre Model Demonstration Site. Construction is ongoing and once completed, the Ministry will work out a management regime together with the Local Governments for the operationalization of the Industrial Hubs
In order to create jobs and a better work environment for the urban poor, over 34 markets in municipalities but has 15 markets in Entebbe, Kasese, Busia, etc. while 4 markets are under construction. 18 more new markets are being planned. In a total of 39 markets will be constructed.
During the manifesto period, the ministry planned to create 15 cities. By 2021 so far 10 cities are operational. These include Mbarara, Masaka, Gulu, Soroti, Mbale, Arua, Lira, Fort Portal, Jinja and Hoima. The remaining five cities come into operation later in the medium term, Minister Namuyanga said.
To stem corruption, the Ministry continued monitoring and inspecting district local governments. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government, Ben Kamumanya, revealed that his ministry is working with relevant anti-graft agencies to fight corruption that has come to characterize district service commissions.
“Corruption is a challenge everywhere. We are working with the IGG and act on recommendations of the anti-corruption agencies. In cases where we have evidence we can disband the district service commission committee and some members where evidence is adduced have been sanctioned,” said Kamumanya.