Paul Mwanja, the Commissioner of Infrastructure and Social Services in the Ministry of Finance, says that whereas the mother districts require Shillings 1 billion for their relocation, the government is currently financially constrained to fund the exercise.
Local Governments whose lower administrative
units were annexed to create cities across the country will have to wait for
another year to access funds for their relocation to new administrative
headquarters. This comes nearly three years
since the government started operationalizing 10 new cities in FY 2020/221 in a
bid to extend urbanization, improve service delivery, and create more jobs for
The new cities are Mbarara, Arua,
Soroti, Mbale, Gulu, Fort Portal, Hoima, and Soroti. However, the mother
districts from, which the new cities were annexed have been stuck in their old
administrative units sparking property rows between the city councils and
Paul Mwanja, the Commissioner of Infrastructure
and Social Services in the Ministry of Finance, says that whereas the mother
districts require Shillings 1 billion for their relocation, the government is currently
financially constrained to fund the exercise. He says the government has now
given priority to the relocation of mother districts and will
budget for the funding in the 2024/25 Financial year.
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Mwanja was speaking on Monday on the
sidelines of the Local Government Budget Consultative Workshop for FY 2024/25
held in Gulu City where he represented Finance Minister Mathias Kasaija. He urged districts to prioritize
funding preparatory activities such as physical planning, surveying, and
mapping of the gazette jurisdictions, among others in readiness for their
operationalization over the medium term.
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Mwanja requested the
various districts and city officials to compromise within this period
on how to share the facilities as they wait for the government to remit funds
for their relocation next year. The budget consultative meeting
attracted several local government officials from Northern Uganda including
District Chairpersons, Resident City and District commissioners, Chief Administrative
Officers, Speakers, and Civil Society Organizations actors.
The Arua District Resident District
Commissioner, Geoffrey Okiswa noted that the delayed remittance of funds for the
relocation of district administrative Units was already affecting service delivery
and asked the government to expedite the processes. He says many district local
governments including Arua already have a huge “appetite” for relocating but can’t
do so because of the lack of finances.
George Otto, a member of the Civil
Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) says the government should prioritize the
funding of the new administrative units it created in order to ease the
provision of services. He notes that the majority of the new districts, cities,
and sub-counties recently created lack substantive headquarters which has, in
turn, affected service delivery.
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Local government leaders during
the meeting also presented the challenges they face that have over time affected
service delivery. The Chief Administrative Officer of
Pader District Robert Adebuason highlighted key challenges in the areas of dwindling
government transfers, especially Uganda road funds to districts, cities, and
Municipalities which has fallen to only 10 million shillings in the first quarter
of FY 2023/24.
Others are the late approval of supplementary budgets especially
capital development, wage, pension, and gratuity which were released late by
three weeks to the end of FY 2022/23, insecurity in areas neighboring the Karamoja
Sub-region, and inadequate wage bill. Delayed relocation of districts
from city administrative units has caused rifts between the city councils and district
officials over property sharing in the past two years. The Local Government Minister
Raphael Magyezi however said earlier that the government will come out with a
policy guideline on how the cities and districts will share properties.