Local government chairpersons have cried out to Parliamentarians to support them in delivering services in their districts.
The Chairpersons also said that Parliament was not using its oversight role to make sure local governments are given the opportunity to make an input in the planning and budgeting process, including ensuring that they are well funded.
This was during a dialogue between the district chairpersons, civil society and the MPs held at Parliament on Wednesday, 16th January 2019.
The dialogue, presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, was one of the activities held during the ongoing Parliament Week under the theme: Championing Accountability to Improve Service Delivery.
The President Uganda Local Government Association (ULGA) and District Chairperson for Lwengo, George Mutabaazi, said that key areas affecting their work are on the failed decentralisation process, poor coordination and inadequate resources; issues that Parliament needs to help alleviate.
He noted that local governments are never given the chance to take part in planning and monitoring their activities therefore disregarding decentralisation.
“There is no decentralisation if a district local government cannot take part in drawing up its own budget or if it requires permission from the central government to employ its staff,” Mutabaazi said.
He however noted the need for local governments to organise their structures to effectively deliver services to the people.
Elakus Okiring from Katakwi district said there is lack of political will to support service delivery in the districts.
“Whenever we meet with leaders like MPs and discuss certain issues, we never see any action on them. We have talked about remuneration several times yet nothing is done,” he said adding that “Parliament needs to take up the issue since it plays a role in preparing the budget.”
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament said the central government has the responsibility to fund and sustain the districts and the Executive arm of government remains with the power to dictate the application of the finances of the country.
“The financial initiative is made by the President and no MP can privately introduce a bill with financial implications without the authority of the Minister of Finance,” Oulanyah said, adding that this affects the ability of MPs to influence issues of under-funding at a district level.
However, Oulanyah noted that local governments have delivery systems in place and the human element which is key in implementing delivery of services.
“In human resources, we are supposed to make sure we know what we are doing through training our people. We train MPs but I found out that the LCVs have never been trained, therefore lacking the right knowledge and skill to execute service delivery,” he said.