The Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts on Local Government has been praised by President Yoweri Museveni 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 yesterday 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 Generals 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 in the viability of some districts, non performing accounting officers, theft through electronic money transfers from the ministry of finance, planning and economic development to some 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 report, president Museveni called upon the leaders to emulate the NRA/NRM doctrine of prioritizing on scarce resources and manpower as the government has managed to build the infrastructure of roads, electricity, education and health sectors, defense among others. "You people, you should be able to listen and learn the experience of NRM. Its an illusion to be everywhere to do everything at ago without prioritization” he said.
He urged Ugandans to emphasize the issue of managing scarce resources, economizing manpower, to ensure the little resources are not stolen and encourage tax points on the population through consumer taxes not local governments to tax 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 decentralization of 1993 should be amended.
The Minister of local government Tom Butime and his finance, planning and economic development counterpart 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 for 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.