District leaders around the country on Thursday discussed a recovery plan after being hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.
This was during an online dialogue between civil society organization and Local Governments to discuss issues affecting local government service delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic and how to counter them.
During the meeting organized by Action Aid, several LCV chairpersons, Chief Administrative Officers and senior finance officers among others noted that break down in tax collection has had a great toll in service delivery.
Lamwo district speaker, Jimmy Amone said the pandemic has seen them barred from holding meetings because of the Ministry of Health guidelines that stop gatherings.
“Accessing information has been a major challenge since most of the district representatives are not connected to either on WhatsApp, Facebook or Email.”
The district leaders said that in this state of affairs, it was not easy to discuss issues concerning service delivery in their areas of responsibility.
They however noted it was a time they learnt several lessons.
“This period has taught us to always be prepared but also cope with technology so as not to miss meetings. All leaders at district level should be equipped with ICT knowledge so that they can be able to attend all meetings via online,” said Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the Gulu district chairperson.
“We should never fail to have meetings because of the distance between us. With applications like zoom, we can always have meetings.”
The district leaders said it is high time tax is collected through electronic means but noted this would require enforcers to be equipped with ICT skills to enable them achieve best results.
They also suggested Ipads and smart phones to facilitate online meetings in the future.
ActionAid Uganda Programs Director, Henry Nickson Ogwal asked government to consider decentralizing funding in response to pandemics like Covid-19 as a way of empowering local governments to offer better services directly to the people.
Ogwal explained that a lot of funds by the central government would be put to better use if it was sent to local governments that have direct access to people affected by the virus.
He noted that local governments have been most hit by the pandemic but asked leaders document those affected in terms of jobs and businesses and see if they offer assistance to them for recovery.