Museveni regrets creation of new districts
President Yoweri Museveni has hinted at the possibility of halting the creation of new districts upon a realisation of their impact on the country’s resource envelope.
Museveni told MPs that sit on the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee on Local Governments that government is spending nearly 40% of the district budgets on financing the wage and administrative bills.
“Some of the districts were created because of ethnicity and others for geographical reasons like Moyo and Adjumani which are separated by water.
But some people now want districts for greedy reasons,” Museveni said.
Museveni told the MPs that if an agreement can be reached, creation of districts can be halted for some years until such a time when government has enough resources to fund the districts.
The MPs met the President on Thursday at State House Entebbe during which they presented to him a report on the findings on the performance of accounting officers of the districts and municipalities.
The report also highlights irregularities in service delivery to the public.
The MPs proposed that government ought to improve funding to the local governments but Museveni said that politicians and the administrative class should learn to use scarce resources to achieve maximum impact.
“Local governments should therefore prioritise roads, electricity, health, education and defense. And as the resource envelope increases, tackle other areas. I agree with the committee that there is a lot of dishonesty in local governments. Even the little resources we have are stolen,” Museveni said.
He said that government is going to act on the district officials that are mentioned in the report for alleged misappropriation of funds, and threatened to terminate their services in addition to prosecuting them.
He also warned the districts against imposing monthlynlevies on small traders in markets.
“Although our economy is small with few tax points, I discourage taxing the poor. For instance in Lukaya, you tax gonja and mchomo (roasted meat) sellers; leave these and collect the annual tax. When they make money, they buy goods that are already taxed,” Museveni said.
He also promised to institute reforms in the education sector intended to stump out corruption in the sector.