Fort Portal City Mayor, Rev Willy Kintu Muhanga adds that due to lack of guidelines; he has not yet formed an executive committee that would implement council resolutions. According to Muhanga, the operationalisation of Fort Portal city led to the immediate closure of Fort Portal municipal bank accounts.
On Tuesday, Fort Portal Tourism City residents protested the poor state of Ruhandiika street road and blocked it with burning tyres and stones
Fort Portal Tourism
City authorities are struggling to deliver services and improve infrastructure
due to lack of funds and operational guidelines. Fort Portal Tourism City is
one of the cities that government operationalized in July.
The others are Masaka,
Jinja, Mbale, Arua, Gulu, Lira, Mbarara, Soroti and Hoima cities. But the creation of the cities did not come with any special budget, or guidelines on their operations, raising questions
about the government’s funding plan.
Local Government Minister Raphael Magyezi had earlier on indicated that the guidelines would be issued, even before the operationalisation of the cities. He also
advised that since there was no money for the new cities, the leaders could in
the meantime use the budgets approved for municipalities.
But the Interim Fort Portal City Mayor, Rev Willy Kintu
Muhanga says that the issued guidelines were
challenged in court by chairpersons of the districts that gave
birth to the cities. Muhanga explains that as a result they
have never held any council meeting to agree on areas that need better
roads, schools, and health centres among other developments due to lack of guidelines on the composition of the council.
He adds that due to lack of guidelines; he has not yet
formed an executive committee that would implement council resolutions. According
to Muhanga, the operationalisation of Fort Portal city led to the immediate closure
of Fort Portal municipal bank accounts.
Rev Muhanga explains that they need guidelines on who should sign for the money, which can only be spent with approval from the Ministry of Finance. He says these challenges have greatly affected service
delivery as they are now struggling to collect garbage from the city, maintain
roads and pay staff salaries. In fact, he notes that no staff has
received their salary for July.
On Tuesday, a section of business operators and
residents blocked Kaboyo and Ruhandiika street roads with burning tyres and
boulders, saying it had become too dusty. They argued that the dust was
affecting their businesses by spoiling machines and other equipment. It
took the intervention of the police to calm the situation. But the interim mayor explains that the constructor, Rino
Construction Limited, needs about Shillings 400 million to continue with the
roads' project but they have the money.
"When I threatened to go to court so that we get clear
guidelines on the operationalisation of the cities, people said I was fighting
the cities. Now here we are. No money, no laws, the council is not sitting and
everything has come to a standstill. I blame Parliamentarians for all this.
They would have followed the law and ensured everything is in place before
creating the cities," Muhanga argues.
On Thursday, Parliament rejected a motion tabled by the Minister of
State for Planning David Bahati, which sought to reallocate funds in the
financial year 2020/2021 budget to operationalize the newly-created cities.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga said the Minister’s motion could not
amend the Appropriation Act for the current financial year.
She said that the Ministry of Finance needed to table
before parliament a law to facilitate the creation of authorities for the new
cities and an amendment to the Appropriation Act. She also said
that Parliament had not been availed with the list of accounting officers for
the new cities who would be accountable for the funds once provided. Efforts
to get a comment from Minister Magezi on the issues affecting the city have
Bureau Chief, Tooro Sub-Region