Start up funds for newly created administrative units diverted to pay salaries

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Local government minister Raphael Magyezi.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Permanent Secretary in the Local Government Ministry has directed newly created sub-counties and town councils to use the startup funds to pay salaries.

In November last year, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning disbursed 50 Million Shillings to each of the newly created town councils and 31.3 million shillings to each newly created sub-county. The money was sent to districts.

There are 364 sub-counties and 352 town councils which recently were created in different parts of the country. However, they are yet to receive the funds to operationalize their work.

In a letter to all Chief Administrative Officers dated February 3, 2022, Ben Kumumanya, the Permanent Secretary of Local Government says that the funds should be used to pay salary for chairpersons and technical staff, allowances for councilors, and other council expenses.

Kumumanya indicated that money should cater for salaries of 13 months for LC chairpersons starting June 2021, salaries for town clerks, Community Development Officers, accounts assistants, and typists.

He also indicated that the money should be spent on paying office rent for 12 months, organizing council meetings, and monitoring.

In Luwero, the newly created town councils include Kamira, Ndejje, Busiika, Zirobwe, and Kikyusa. The town councils came into force in January 2020.

Erastus Kibirango, the LCV chairperson of Luwero district said that they have already passed the supplementary budget for the newly created units and the funds will now be disbursed to them since they have got the guidance.

Kibirango added that it was a good move towards operationalizing the units but decried the low funds disbursed which don’t cater for service projects like road construction.

“People elected the leaders in new units and government is now going to pay them salaries but there is nothing they will do. Government should fulfill its obligations to send funds to execute projects “ Kibirango said.

Paul Salabwa, the LC3 Chairperson of Kikyusa town council says that he intends to use the salary to fuel tractors to open up the roads in town since the government has failed to send money for the works.

“How can my people hear that am being paid salary yet I do nothing in the office. Immediately the money is sent to my account, I will withdraw it and use it for road maintenance. I didn’t come to this office to get salaries but work for my people” Salabwa said.

Richard Nyombi, the LC3 Chairperson of Busiika town council says that they collect low local revenue to enable them to do bigger projects in the community.  Nyombi said that they expected adequate money as start-up funds but they are frustrated to see the government releasing funds for salaries.

“I think the newly created town councils and sub-counties are just a mockery. They are not intended for improving service delivery because the government has failed to fund them” Nyombi said.

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