It is 13 years since the decentralisation programme was introduced and a lot has been achieved. However, the system is dogged with financial problems.
For the last five years, local government leaders have been engaged in â€˜running battlesâ€™ with the central government over funding. Last year, they stormed out of the Ministry of Finance meeting that had been called to discuss district funding after failing to reach a compromise with the finance minister, Ezra Suruma.
Between 1997 and 2000, the local government took between 30 and 40% of the national budge, but this has dropped to 20% in the last five years.
To make matters worse, local revenue sources have also reduced. Until 2000, local revenue contributed about 30% of district budgets, but this has dropped to less than 4% in most rural districts.
There is also a problem of misuse of funds by local government leaders.
All this is evidence that the system faces enormous challenges. Local Government leaders should, therefore, improve revenue collection by avoiding contradicting statements and ensure value for money in all district projects. That way, financial decentralisation will be on course-again.
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Address local govâ€™t finances