By John Semakula
LC5 chairpersons have asked government for a policy change to allow them start keeping the unused revenue at the end of the financial year instead of returning it to the central government.
The chairperson of Uganda Local Government Association (ULGA) Frederick Ngobi made the appeal on Friday while addressing participants at the 9th Joint Annual Review of Decentralisation (JAARD) at Imperial Resort Hotel Entebbe.
Ngobi said that the central government should let them appropriate the unused revenue into a supplementary budget and use it for its intended purpose.
He noted that returning the unused revenue to central government causes work to stagnate which affects service delivery for the masses.
He observed that many times local governments fail to use the funds they get because it is deposited to their accounts late – towards the end of the financial year.
Ngobi also wondered where the money returned to the central government goes.
“I have never heard Parliament discussing about this money. Its destination is unknown. Is it appropriated by government as a supplementary budget and used?”
But reacting to Ngobi’s request, the permanent secretary of the ministry of local government, Patrick Mutabwire, wondered why districts should fail to use all the money they receive.
“District leaders should make sure that they work within the system and time frame to use all their money instead of sending it back,” Mutabwire said.
He advised district leaders to initiate procurement processes before money is sent. “If money finds the procurement process done then you only have to pay,” he said.
ULGA also wants government to allow local governments replace retired staff automatically without having to seek permission from the public service.
They noted that the law requiring them to seek permission from the public service affects work since the latter (public service) many times takes long to respond.
The participants in this two-day meeting were officials from the ministry of local government and district official officials.
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Districts want to retain unused cash