By John Odyek
Dr Joseph Muvawala, executive director, National Planning Authority (NPA) has challenged local governments to strengthen the role of development planning.
This, he said would enable Uganda achieve its Vision 2040, of making Ugandan people modern and prosperous.
“Development planning in Uganda seems to be losing steam while we have frameworks for planning. We need to improve the capacity of planners at district and local governments,” Muvawala said.
He said this during the launch of the Local Government Development Planning Guidelines and the creation of a Planners Forum. The forum will have planners from local and central government to nurture planning.
The guidelines give details of what should be included in plans, steps to follow in planning, monitoring guidelines, how private sector should be involved, communication and feedback strategies.
“Local governments are supposed to be wealth creation units not only units for service delivery,” Muvawala said.
Dr Patrick Birungi, director in charge of planning NPA they need to produce harmonious plans that are comparable across districts and with the National Development Plan.
Paddy Galabuzi, district planner Kiboga district planner said there were different methods of planning that were used by districts.
Galabuzi also Chairperson Local Government Planning Association said the new guidelines were standardised but districts will come up with plans that were harmonized by the guidelines.
He said the district plans would be aligned with government priorities, the National Development Plan and Uganda Vision 2040.
“These guidelines will change planning. It will minimize inconsistencies, improve coordination and streamline linkages between local governments,” Galabuzi said.
Annet Mukabi, team leader governance program UNDP said they expect that the new guidelines will nurture the cross cutting issues. The issues are gender, environment, human rights, disability, nutrition, governance, population and development, science and innovation, child health, social protection, climate change, HIV and culture change and mind set.
Prime Minister Mbabazi said Uganda has been known to have good plans but their implementation has been a problem. Mbabazi observed that many successful plans had also been implemented and need to be documented and shown to the public.
“Our plans are praised world over. There are many challenges to their implementation and it is a matter we are attending to improve results. But we have done a lot on building roads for example,” Mbabazi said.
Development Plans are a legal requirement for all higher and lower local governments. The Uganda Vision 2040 stipulates that the road to transformation will require careful planning and commitment of resources. The theme of this Vision is to have a ‘transformed Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country within 30 years’.