Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has expressed concern over the low funding towards local governments saying there is need to review and assist them to improve their revenue sources.
The Speaker was meeting Commissioners on the Local Government Finance Commission led by the Chairperson, Dr. Agnes Atim, on Monday 13 August 2018. The Commission presented its Annual Report 2016/2017 to the Speaker.
“It is frustrating when we give districts responsibilities with less than 20 percent funding, yet we want performance at 100 percent. At some stage we should review the idea of decentralization,” Kadaga said.
The Speaker also addressed concerns over the inadequate use of census reports to offer improved services to the public, as well as equitable service delivery through the respective local governments around the country.
“One of my health centers is at a confluence of three districts but the drugs they are getting long before the census are still the same amount. Our census has not been properly used for planning,” Kadaga said.
Kadaga added that local governments needed their own financing system so as to manage the resources allocated to them, in a bid to reduce dependence on the Finance Ministry and also improve service delivery.
Dr. Atim noted that 64.2 percent of the finances given to local governments were taken up by wages, which hindered performance.
She added that the decentralization policy had failed to take priority, which impacted on the amount of work done, saying that the Central Government was overstepping the roles of local governments.
“We are emphasizing the idea of moving away from grants to sharing the national revenue, so that grants take care of the wage bill as local governments get additional funding to enhance service delivery,” said Dr. Atim.
She added that the Commission was working to improve documentation of revenue sources that would in turn improve revenue collection adding that, “We are working with Ministry of Finance to establish databases to collect information on markets and taxi parks.”
Dr. Atim also noted that the issue of equity was being worked on with the development of a framework called the District Decentralization Architecture, to check on ad hoc systems of resource and budget allocation.
The Commission Secretary, Lawrence Banyoya, noted that lack of knowledge of the taxpayers from whom to collect revenue had also hindered the financial performance of local governments.
“Some of the taxes have been interfered with. Management of taxi parks and markets is confused because they do not have a charging policy and thus come up with ad hoc pricing,” noted Banyoya.
The Report will be presented to Parliament.