Government to buy more cars for district chairpersons

Government is in advanced stages of buying new vehicles for district, municipal and sub county leaders as part of its strategy to improve services delivery at the local level.

The minister of Local Government Tom Butime told district leaders during the annual general meeting of the Uganda Local government association  (ULGA) at Hotel Leslona in Moroto that government is in advanced stages of procuring new cars for recently elected district chairpersons.

“The procurement of vehicles for district chairpersons created in the last and current financial year is now in advanced stages,” Butime said.

A cross section of local government leaders attending the ULGA assembly in Moroto

There are currently 127 district chairpersons but the number will go up to 134 in July with the creation of seven more districts at the beginning of the 2019/2020 financial year.

Ahead of the 2016 elections, government spent $4 million (about Shs 14 billion) to buy brand new Mitsubishi double cabin trucks for 112 district chairpersons.

The Local Government Ministry officials were tight-lipped on how much will be spent on the procurements but going by the average cost of the 2016 cars, each of the 28 new chairpersons plus 41 municipal mayors will have more than $35,714 (Shs 128.5 million) for a car.

In total, government is going to spend about Shs 9.4 billion on the cars alone.
“Government has also availed funds to procure motorcycles for all LC III [Sub County] chairpersons in the country. This will ease their oversight roles,” Butime said.

Considering the open market price for a brand new motorcycle, government may spend more than Shs 8 billion to motorcycles for the nearly 2,000 sub counties and town councils in the country.

Besides the vehicles, Butime said that government is also to spend some more money to procure official stamps for all village and parish councils.

The stamps will be made from the Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation  (UPPC) Entebbe, to lock out any possibilities of forgeries.

While Butime told the district chiefs about the coming new administrative units, he at the same time blamed the increasing number of local governments for putting a strain on the financial, human and material resources available to the districts.

“The Local government system is not operating optimally  due to distortions brought about by among others; inadequate financing and investment in human resources and facilities, weak systems and  coordination,” Butime said.

Last October, the state minister for Local Government Jennifer Namuyangu told Parliament’s committee on Local government and Public Service that recruitment of staff for the newly created sub counties and town councils had stalled because of a Shs160 billion budget deficit.

As of now, there are 203 new town councils and 198 new sub counties but the operational budget for running local governments further shoot up once new administrative units become operational next financial year.

Before going to Moroto, the local government leaders had spent a week in retreat at the National Leadership Institute  Kyankwanzi.