House directs Finance to release Shs1trn for local govt

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Hon Bahati

Parliament has instructed the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to transmit up to Shs1 trillion to local government units.

The funds, contained in the previous budget, were withheld by various ministries under unclear circumstances.

MP Nathan Itungo (NRM, Kashaari South), informed Parliament by way of a matter of national importance that a local newspaper had carried a story, communicating the withheld funds.

“I have seen in the New Vision [newspaper] that over shs1.3 trillion has been retained by Ministries…retaining this money has a negative impact on the performance of local governments; we don’t even have agricultural extension workers in most of the districts,” said MP Itungo.

Victoria University

Itungo said the Ministries of Agriculture, Animal industries and Fisheries withheld shs281 billion, Education and Sports Shs257.2 billion, Health Shs277.8 billion while Water and Environment retained Shs184.4 billion.

The Ministry of Works and Transport is said to have retained Shs96.1 billion.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga instructed Finance State Minister, Hon David Bahati, to oversee the disbursement of the said funds to the affected local government units.

“That money is appropriated by this House; already, local governments are underfunded, we want an answer on this issue tomorrow,” said Kadaga.

Minister Bahati said the Finance Ministry will investigate and if found to be true, ensure the monies are relayed to the local governments.

“We will cross check the facts because it is very surprising; we release this money and we expect it to reach those units for service delivery; we will instruct the Ministries to effect the payment,” said Bahati.

MP wants errant electoral officials suspended

Meanwhile, MP Joseph Ssewungu (DP, Kalungu West) has asked government to fire election officials adversely mentioned in court rulings.

Ssewungu said the officials who court rulings have implicated in bungling elections should be sacked, and instead not be given responsibility to manage elections in future.

“Many officers of the Electoral Commission were implicated in these petitions; in some cases, costs have been awarded and government has lost money, however, the officers implicated are still serving,” said Ssewungu.

“The Attorney General together with the Ministry of Justice should present to this House the issue of how the implicated officials are being handled,” said Ssewungu.

Speaker Kadaga said MP Ssewungu should provide a list with names of the officials for action to be taken.

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