By Kampala Post Reporter
ENTEBBE. The Uganda Local Government Association, and umbrella association for all local government has presented policy recommendations to President Yoweri Museveni, who is also its Patron.
A team led by ULGA President Lwengo LCV George Mutabazi on Thursday met the president at state house Entebbe to discuss their policy recommendations targeted at repositioning local governments for improved service delivery.
Speaking at the meeting, the Secretary General of ULGA Gertrude Rose Gamwera said that the local government needed more funding to be able to perform their monitoring role.
“These funds can be secured by redirecting all programme funding retained by line Ministries, departments and Agencies. For services implemented at local government level,” Gamwera said.
The leaders sought a presidential directive to increase their budget from the 12.9% in FY 2017/2018 to 40% in FY 2018/2019 to improve service delivery at local governments.
In his remarks, Museveni said that Local Government Authorities together with the Central Government departments in the country are all obliged to agree on common and shared goals for national development and transformation based on available resources.
"Local governments should use prioritization approach with the available resources from the current small national tax base and agree on development programmes’ implementation strategy as the best way to go locally and centrally," he said.
He reminded them that "development addresses issues of infrastructure implementation at national level; but poverty eradication, which looks at how to expand on the nucleus of an 'enclave economy' in society by reducing the sea of pre-capitalistic subsistence farming, now at 68%, to modern and commercial methods of agriculture at household level in every parish/village in the country depending on individuals' land holding.”
He informed the meeting that to revive 'a once dead national economy' of the 1970s, the NRM Government had to revamp the national recovery programmes by establishing first and foremost peace and stability, building a strong Army, re-introduce the private sector and investment that had collapsed, building the infrastructure and creating the human resource with the necessary education and skills. He said that the measures that the Movement put into place have delivered positive results as is witnessed by the economic development in the country today.
He observed that when people are awakened to appreciate economic recovery and development, equality in economic livelihood can be realized; more especially when a shift from subsistence to commercial methods of farming with accountability, stopping land fragmentation and property inheritance as well as maximizing profits through shareholding amongst family members, are embraced.
The President castigated local leaders for seeming lack of initiative to sensitive communities to learn practical ways of improving household income. He passionately appealed to them to internalize the government policy and introduction of improved methods of farming on four acres of land as adopted in the government plans.
Museveni also expressed happiness that the OWC programme, that has been in operation for 2 years, has progressively registered remarkable steps in reducing poverty levels under the management of the National Coordinator, Gen. Salim Saleh and the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) field officers, who are all committed to the distribution of agricultural implements and equipment throughout the regions of the country.
The chairperson ULGA taskforce for Partnership with Operation Wealth Creation Joseph Luzige said that local government faces a number of challenges due to under funding and yet some money supposed to come to local governments is retained t ministries.
“Even the 2.3 for salaries is a round figure, it involves housing, healthcare, tax and others. We have programs to alleviate poverty but still 69% are still under the poverty line. The policy of centralization which is your brain child is continuously being centralized” he added
President Museveni embraced the submission by ULGA. He advised that Operation Wealth creation sit with ULGA to identify a vision and set priorities for their partnership. He however cautioned that Local Government cannot be left in total control of all affairs.