Koena Sub County in Bukedea District has failed to pass this financial
year’s budget. The new sub-county which was carved from Kidongole started
operations in 2018.
According to the budgetary guidelines, local governments are required to
approve their budget estimates by May 31st, a month to the end of the financial
year. The approved budgets at local governments are supposed to be submitted to
the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development by mid-June for the
final performance contract.
Tavuga Mubarak, the sub-county chairperson of Koena faults the technical wing
in the sub-county for the delayed submissions of the budget.
Tavuga, who is demanding accountability from his accounting officer, Sarah
Aliano for the last two financial years says that councillors have been asking
the technical staff to provide budget estimates and work plans for approval in
vain. He adds that the concerns for the budget estimates and work plans arose
with the old council but Aliano, who is the Assistance Chief Administrative
Officer of Koena, ignored them.
Tavuga claims that Aliano sabotages most of the activities and plans
in the sub-county.
He singled out the construction of the slaughter slab whose money
was diverted to road works.
Aliano is also faulted for reportedly collecting local revenue
without issuing receipts, which has affected the performance of local revenue in
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Eunice Asio, the Speaker of Koena Sub County Council wants the
issues of the sub-county investigated. She says that from the time they assumed
offices, no clear explanation has been given to members of the council even
before the lockdown was announced by the president.
When contacted, Aliano declined to comment on the matter. However, the Chief
Administrative Officer of Bukedea, Maira Joseph Mukasa, said that he was not
aware of the failed approval and passing of the budget.
Aliano later explained that the delay in the budget approval was caused by changes
in Discretionary Development Grant- DEG for sub-counties that first indicated 73
million shillings’ allocation to Koena.
She says the new indicative planning figures given to the sub-county later came
in just days to the lockdown, which she notes couldn’t allow the council to
convene to approve the budget.
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Ambrose Omagor, the community activist on governance and service delivery which
focuses on accountability and transparency in Bukedea district says that there
has been a communication gap between the political and technical leadership of the
Sub County. He says that there could be connivance amongst leaders to deny
residents of the sub-county services that they deserve.
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In his July 2nd, 2021 letter to the accounting officers, Patrick Ocailap, the
Permanent Secretary/ Secretary to the Treasury in the Ministry of Finance
warned that all the government institutions which have not submitted their
budget estimates will not receive funds for the first quarter.
However, while Koena may be struggling, Bukedea district has also had issues in
its budgetary performances. For instance, the Auditor General Report of 2020
indicates that the district had submitted the four quarterly performance reports after
the set deadline.