STATEMENT ON THE CREATION OF 25 NEW DISTRICTS
Local Government Administration in Uganda is premised on the policy of Decentralization through devolution which seeks to bring social services such as health, education, roads and water closer to the people. This is the very essence for the creation of districts which Uganda Local Governments Association’s (ULGA’s) considered opinion can only function if the appropriate parameters and adequate resources for the new districts are availed. This is mainly because creating more districts results in an increase in administrative costs amongst the many other requiments that come with the establishments.
The Association remains concerned that in the wake of things, most of the districts that started operating in July 2010 such as Agago and Ntoroko are still faced with inadequate staffing and management capacity with as low as only 7% of the approved structures. More so, some new districts have no headquarters, others have departments with no offices, no electricity nor the necessary tools and equipment to fully function as service delivery centres.
An analysis by ULGA on the progression of the division of the national cake overtime shows that funding to the local government sector has continued on a downward trend from 25% in the 2005/06 financial year to 17.6% in the 2011/12 financial year. The human resource levels have remained at 55% with some new districts having only 10% staffing, five years after government approved filing of the structures up to 65%. This si compounded by the low levels of local revenue generated. The new taxes; local service tax and local hotels tax have failed to yield significant revenue leaving Local Governments to depend on Central Government transfers for their financing by up to 97% in some cases. This has continued to limit their autonomy and discretionary powers, which are necessary ingredients of devolved power and responsibility.
Given the status quo, ULGA therefore calls on Central Government to seriously consider the recommendations of the on-going holistic review of Local Government financing, once finalized by the Local Government Finance Commission (LGFC) before the rush for more districts is embraced.
We also call upon the Parliamentary Committee on Local Government and Public Service to critically review the proposal for creation of new districts and make realistic recommendations to the August House as they will determine the future trend of service delivery to our communities.
Odok Peter W’oceng
Gertrude Rose Gamwera
SECRETARY GENERAL ULGA