President Yoweri Museveni has commended the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts on Local Government for its well and elaborate researched findings on the Accounting Officers of District Local Governments and Municipal Councils countrywide on the irregularities of service delivery to the public.
The President made the remarks at State House, Entebbe while receiving the report from the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Okumu Ronald Reagan, who is also Aswa County MP in Gulu District.
The Committee made its findings during the execution of its mandate while considering the Auditor General’s Report for the 2016/2017 Financial Year.
The Committee says that a number of recurring issues have continued to hinder service delivery in Local Governments for which the Committee has sought proposals and practical solutions as a way forward regarding issues in service delivery irregularities.
The committee areas of concern were related to the dwindling portion of the national budget allocated to local governments, sources of revenue for local governments and the impact of creating town Councils that are not viable in some districts, non performing accounting officers, theft through electronic money transfers from the ministry of finance, planning and economic development to someone local governments as cited in the districts of Kiruhura and Apac, central government ministries setting standards for service delivery in local governments to achieve the set standards like some ministries have set an example namely the ministries of Education and Sports, health, water among others.
The meeting was attended by First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni and the Minister of education and Sports, the Minister of Finance, Planning and economic development Matia Kasaija , the Minister of Local government Tom Butime, various government permanent secretaries among others.
On receiving the report, president Museveni called upon the leaders to emulate the NRA/NRM doctrine of prioritising when you have scarce resources and manpower, just as government has managed to build the infrastructure of roads, electricity, education, health and defence among others inspite of scarce resources.
“You people you should be able to listen and learn the experience of NRM. It’s an illusion to think that you can be everywhere, do everything at ago without prioritisation,” he said.
He urged Ugandans to emphasize the issue of managing scarce resources, economising manpower, to ensure the little resources are not stolen and encourage tax points on the population through consumer taxes and discouraged local governments from taxing the poor population.
On projects planning and construction, the President appealed to parliament to support him on comparable salary increment for scientists like in other countries.
“Somebody who can do a good job should be paid well. Focus on this crucial point is needed,” he said.
The President also concurred with committee recommendation, that the local governments policy on decentralization of 1993 should be amended.
He called upon community Leaders to sensitise the communities about hygiene and sanitation, emphasize immunisation against the thirteen killers diseases, safe water, anti-malaria control.
The President supported the of idea that led to the creation of OWC in 2013 reasoning that a lot of resources had been mismanaged by the NAADS coordinators, and that government has managed to sink about shillings 1.1trillion in total into national livelihood programs, which has given the population a financial ray of hope in socio-economic development.
The Minister of local government Tom Butime and the Minister of finance, planning and economic development Matia Kasaija concurrently agreed on enforcement on accountability for improved service delivery by both ministries.
In the report, the chairperson of the committee Okumu Ronald Reagan said, “the issues to do with accountability and auditing of public funds should not be mixed up with politics.”
The Committee looks forward to have a workable solution to the irregularities of public funds in local governments.
Elaborating on the status of Ministry of Health and drugs supplies, it was revealed that at times drugs reach expiry date before consumption, other national drugs are found on market in neighbouring countries like the DRC, Burundi.
The President stressed that there must be proper coding of drugs right from the initial centre of distribution and copied for record purposes.
The committee blamed the Ministry Labour, Gender, Youth and Women affairs for not supporting Youth livelihood programs fully.
The President thanked the committee for the work done and expressed his support to ensure that their recommendations are implemented.