Gulu city councilors fault finance ministry for failing to remit local revenue

Gulu City Council. URN photo

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Gulu city councilors have faulted the Ministry of Finance for failing to remit the council’s local revenue collected using the Integrated Revenue Administration System-IRAS.

The government allocated local revenue worth 491 Million Shillings to Gulu City Council for the financial year 2021/2022 but using the IRAS, Gulu City collected up to 1.8 Billion Shillings from last year to date.

Out of the 1.8 billion shillings, Gulu City Council was allowed to utilize the 491 million shillings between July and September last year as allocated by the central government.

From October last year to date, Gulu City Council has not been able to utilize the remaining 1.3 billion shillings since it would require approval of a supplementary budget by the Parliament after being presented by the Ministry of Finance.

Florence Lallam, the Gulu City woman councilor for Pece-Laroo North Division says that the City Council embraced the IRAS with the hope that it would help to end the leakages in the local revenue collection process, but to their disappointment, the local revenue they collected so far is not being remitted for service delivery in the city.

According to Lallam, the City Council has not been able to pay some of its staff like cleaners and street gangs, and the technical wing is failing to implement the council’s resolutions since they require funding, which is not there.

Andrew Ogwetta Otto, a councilor says that the contractors are currently offering their services to the council on credit.

According to Ogwetta, the failure of the Ministry of Finance to respond to their concerns has prompted them to seek the audience of the Prime Minister and other top government officials.

Susan Acan, the Gulu City Councilor for Pece-Laroo Division South says that more than 70 Million shillings has been collected from Gulu Main Market this month using IRAS but they are unable to use the money to collect garbage or clear other bills.

Isaiah Tumwesigye, the Gulu City Clerk says that they have outstanding debts from service providers and that some of them are threatening to drag the City Council to court. He however appealed to the councilors to be patient as they make follow-ups with the government.

Jim Mugunga, the Ministry of Finance spokesperson says that the city’s accounting officer knows the right procedures for requesting the funds from the ministry. According to Mugunga, the delays to remit the local revenue could be a result of the city authorities not following the appropriate procedure.

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