LEGISLATORS have vowed not to pass the local government ministryâ€™s budget if it continues to use graduated tax compensation funds for paying the salaries of local council officials.
MPs on the public service and local government accounts committees regretted that out of sh45b supposed to be given to local governments as compensation for the abolished graduated tax, sh33b was spent on the wage component of the unconditional grants.
Rebecca Otengo (Independent) wondered how the Government expected the over 80 districts to use only sh12b as compensation for graduated tax.
Alex Byarugaba (NRM) noted that the ministryâ€™s policy statement indicated that the Government had earmarked sh33b for salaries and wages.
â€œAs MPs who sit on the local government accounts committee, we get embarrassed whenever the Government comes up with such policies, which depict us as unappreciative of the financial crisis in local councils following the abolition of the tax,â€ he said.
â€œIf it means not passing this ministryâ€™s budget, we are going to do so.
â€œWe want all the sh45b for graduated tax compensation. The Government must provide additional money for wages.â€
In the statement, the local government minister, Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, said that unlike in the past, newly recruited staff members were now readily accessing the payroll because the money for salaries was available upfront.
Other committee members like Emma Boona (NRM) noted that despite the Governmentâ€™s inspection and supervision of local governments, corruption remained rampant.
The MPs recommended that the officials engaged in malpractices be severely penalised individually instead of withdrawing funding from the district.
Such blanket punishment, they noted, would affect service delivery.
MPs warn ministry over budget