Pressures on budget to rise as Museveni okays Kapeeka Municipality

The burden on taxpayers to maintain their leaders is to shoot up as new administrative units come into effect.

On Wednesday, President Yoweri Museveni okayed the creation of Semuto –Kapeeka municipality in Nakaseke district, saying it will encourage effective planning for an industrial center.

This comes at a time when the country is preparing for the operationalization of about nine new cities next financial year despite government failing to fund 198 sub counties and 203 town councils that came into effect last financial year.

On April 28, the state minister for Local Government Jennifer Namuyangu told Parliament’s committee of Local Government and Public Service that about Shs 160 billion was required to run the new administrative units.

Of this, Shs 100 billion would go to the 203 town councils, while Shs 29 billion would fund the 198 sub-counties, and Shs 30 billion would go to the operationalization of the cities.

The cities of Jinja, Gulu, Arua, Fort Portal, Mbarara, Entebbe, Masaka and Mbale will come into effect on July 1, most likely, with Semuto-Kapeeka Municipality that Museveni endorsed as he began his wealth creation tours of Buganda.

According to Local Government Act, the conditions for creation of municipality include the capacity to meet the cost of service delivery and office accommodation, existence of a physical development plan for land use, reliable water sources and reasonable financial base.

The area must also have a population of at least 100,000 inhabitants. However, Semuto town council has only 10,935 people while Kapeeka Sub County has about 40,000, according to 2014 National Population and Housing Census 2014.

Ignatius Koomu Kiwanuka, the Nakaseke LC 5 Chairperson, says the area is fast growing as a result of the establishment of Namunkekera Rural Industrial Center at Kapeeka trading center and needs a municipality status for easy planning. Koomu explains that the municipality will also attract social services that are still lacking.

He asked the president to approve the elevation of the area to a municipal status because of its contribution to the National Resistance Movement Army (NRA) guerilla war of 1981-1986.

Speaking at a rally at Ngoma sub county headquarters in Nakaseke on Wednesday evening, President Museveni said he was in support of the creation of Semuto-Kapeeka municipality so as to encourage planning for the industrial center.

He directed the District Council to sit and pass a resolution creating of the municipality and forward it to his office for endorsement.

However, the area Member of Parliament, Luttamaguzi Ssemakula said the problem of residents is not a municipal status but service delivery.

Luttamaguzi claimed that he is aware that the creation of the municipality is intended to favor a specific NRM parliamentary aspirant.

In March this year, while opening the NRM caucus retreat at National Leadership Institute Kyankwanzi, Museveni spoke against the creation of new administrative units in the country citing huge administrative costs.

Museveni, then, argued  that money meant for the operationalization of the new administrative units could instead be diverted to improve Agriculture, the Youth Livelihood programme and Women Fund which he says are crucial to the development of Uganda’s economy.

Each new administrative unit comes with many administration costs, which include, establishment of administrative sites, recruitment of staffs, salaries and remunerations for staff, upgrading of health centers, and of course election of political leaders. All these costs constrain the already small national budget.