President Yoweri Museveni has commended the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts on Local Government for its well and elaborate researched findings on the Accounting Officers of District Local Governments and Municipal Councils countrywide on the irregularities of service delivery to the public.
The President made the remarks yesterday at State House, Entebbe while receiving the report from the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Okumu Ronald Reagan, who is also Aswa County MP in Gulu District.
The Committee made its findings during the execution of its mandate while considering the Auditor General’s Report for the 2016/2017 Financial Year.
The Committee says that a number of recurring issues have continued to hinder service delivery in Local Governments for which the Committee has sought proposals and practical solutions as a way forward regarding issues in service delivery irregularities.
The committee areas of concern were related to the dwindling portion of the national budget allocated to local governments, sources of revenue for local governments and the impact of creating town Councils in the viability of some districts, non performing accounting officers, theft through electronic money transfers from the ministry of finance, planning and economic development to someone local governments as cited in the districts of Kiruhura and Apac, central government ministries setting standards for service delivery in local governments to achieve the set standards like some ministries have set an example namely the ministries of Education and Sports, health, water among others.
The meeting was attended by First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni and the Minister of education and Sports, the Minister of Finance, planning and economic development Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Local government Tom Butime, and various government permanent secretaries among others.
On receiving report, president Museveni called upon the leaders to emulate the NRA/NRM doctrine of prioritizing on scarce resources and manpower as the government has managed to build the infrastructure of roads, electricity, education and healthy sectors, defense among others. “You people you should be able to listen and to learn the experience of NRM. It’s an illusion to be everywhere to do everything at ago without prioritization.”, he said.
He urged Ugandans to emphasize the issue of managing scarce resources, economizing manpower, to ensure the little resources are not stolen and encourage tax points on the population through consumer taxes not local governments to tax the poor population.
On projects planning and construction, the President appealed to parliament to support him on comparable salary increment for scientists like in other countries. “Somebody who can do a good job should be paid well. Focus on this crucial point is needed”, he said.
The President also concurred with committee recommendation the local governments policy decentralization of 1993 should be amended.
He called upon community Leaders to sensitize the communities about hygiene and sanitation, emphasize immunization campaign against the thirteen killers diseases against children, safe water, anti-malaria control.
The President supported the of idea for the creation of OWC in 2013 reasoning that a lot of resources had been mismanaged by the NAADS coordinators and the government has managed to sink about shillings 1.1trillion in total into national livelihood programs, which has given the population a financial ray of hope in socio economic development.
The Minister of Education and Sports Janet Kataha Museveni raised her concern that with her experience as former Minister incharge of Karamoja Affairs believes that local governments can not do a good job. She called upon the central government and local governments to harmonize and participate in implementation of government projects.
The Minister of local government Tom Butime and the Minister of finance, planning and economic development Matia Kasaija concurrently agreed on enforcement on accountability for improved service delivery by both ministries.
In the report, the chairperson of the committee Okumu Ronald Reagan said, ” the issues to do with accountability and auditing for public funds should not be involved mixed up with politics.” The Committee looks forward to have a workable solution to the irregularities of public funds in local governments.
Elaborating on the status of ministry of health and drugs supplies, it was revealed that at times drugs reach expiry date before consumption, other national drugs are found on market in neighboring countries like the DRC, Burundi, which the President reacted to that there must be proper coding of drugs right from the initial center of distribution and copied for record purpose. He added that the state of ministry of education and Sports service delivery is appalling countrywide and called for total overhaul in the ministry.
The committee also bashed the ministry Labour, gender, youth and women affairs for not supporting Youth livelihood programs fully though it was recommended that women livelihood programs received better attention.