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District Chairpersons Decry Late Release of Funds

In their presentation, the leaders noted that most of the funds from central government are released late and at times towards the end of the financial year, which makes them hard to be utilized.
Rwabuhinga during the presentation of the district leaders.

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Chairpersons of districts in Rwenzori Sub-region have decried underfunding and late release of funds from central government.

This was contained in their joint presentation that the Kabarole LCV chairperson, Richard Rwabuhinga, presented at the Kasunga 10 Rwenzori Leaders’ Retreat.   

The leaders argued that districts get only 13 percent of the national budget but 9 per cent ends up in paying salaries of staff and their allowances.

They said the 4 per cent that remains is too little to improve on service delivery and infrastructure development, and want the funds increased.   

In their presentation, the leaders noted that most of the funds from central government are released late and at times towards the end of the financial year, which makes them hard to be utilized.     

The Kyegegwa LCV chairperson, John Byamukama Kisoke, said when funds are not utilized by the end of a given financial year, they are required to send them back to the consolidated fund and make fresh requests for them, a process he said is time wasting.  

As a result, they argued, their electorates see them as inefficient because they fail to utilize the money for pressing development purposes.   

For instance, in July this year, Kyenjojo district sent back 1.4 billion shillings to the consolidated fund after they failed to use the money in the 2019/2020 financial year.   

The district chairperson, William Kaija, then said the money had been released so late that they even failed to repair roads and renovate schools that were in very bad conditions.      

      

On roads, the leaders said it does not make sense to find that districts are given full road units but they have to wait for allocation of funds from central government to maintain them.   

They noted that this has led to unnecessary delays in road maintenance and attracted sharp criticism from their electorates who accuse them of poor leadership because of failing to repair roads on time.   

Rwabuhinga said they want to be in charge of the funds on top of the road units so that they can repair roads as soon as the need arises.   

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In their presentation, the leaders alsoo noted that the roads maintained by Uganda National Roads Authority – UNRA look much better and last longer when compared to ones that are maintained by the districts.     

This, they argued, is because the roads’ authority is allocated more funds than the districts, which is a disadvantage to them because the electorates think they just do shoddy work.   

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Roads in the districts of Rwenzori are in bad state with deep gullies, potholes that are normally filled with stagnant water, are narrow and become so slippery during wet seasons.   

This, in most cases, has affected businesses of the residents, who find it hard to access markets for their agricultural produce, while others struggle to access schools and health centres.   

During the retreat, other issues aimed at developing Rwenzoro Sub region were discussed. They included promotion of tourism and utilization of the Agro-industrialization Local Economic Development – Agri-LED initiative, which aims at transforming local governments to eradicate poverty and ensure sustainable wealth creation by paying attention to the needs of individual districts.  

The Kasunga Leaders’ Retreat is an initiative by Kabarole Research and Resource Centre – KRC that started in 2006. It brings together local and central government leaders including ministers, Members of Parliament - MPs, district chairpersons, Chief Administrative Officers – CAOs, cultural and opinion leaders, to deliberate on issues in the region.  

Some of the achievements of the Retreat include formation of the Tooro Elders Forum – TEF that also holds annual meetings and has mediated different conflicting parties in the region and has also given birth to the annual Tooro People’s Conference.   

It also led to the formation of Rwenzori MPs’ Forum, which aims at promoting women’s rights and development, as well as look at issues of marginalization and gender equality.   This year’s theme was “Securing Common Ground for Rwenzori Region Development”.