By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/Umoja Standard.
Kikuube, Bunyoro Sub Region: Officiating at the opening of Induction exercise for Kikuube District Councilors Induction Exercise funded by Action Against Hunger, Swizin Mugyema, the commissioner in charge of Local Government Development at the Ministry of Local Government stated that Regulation 8 of the Local Government Act highlights the role of a councilor and this is what they should be referring to in executing their mandate.
Swizin Mugyema, the Commissioner in charge of Local Government Development at the Ministry of Local Government. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
He added that Section 9 of that Act talks about Council being the highest political authority in every local government that has legislative and executive powers that must be exercised in line with the constitution and other laws enacted by the Parliament.
“So, we keep reminding them that the powers and authority that Local Government have are used to process and enhance service delivery and add value to transformation of Society”. He stated.
“Kikuube like many other new districts, the challenges of being new are not withstanding, government is aware that Kikuube is an independent district from Hoima so the issue of not having road equipment is a temporary matter because procurement of equipment for the new district has commenced and won’t take long before they get them”. Commissioner Swizin highlighted.
Buhaguzi East are Member of Parliament Hon. Stephen Aseera Itaza. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
In his remarks, Buhaguzi East are Member of Parliament Hon. Stephen Aseera Itaza confided that the council had some rifts which hampered progress of the district.
“We have been entrusted by the voters, lets focus on service delivery, good legislation as we now know what everyone is supposed to do. Let’s end self-gains, put aside personal differences and have a strong council to drive district programmes”. He emphasized.
He mentioned that the rifts that have been in council have blocked partners from investing in Kikuube that has greatly impacted on residents.
He lauded Action Against Hunger USA-Uganda Mission that is implementing the Right to Grow Project that is focused on reducing stunting and malnutrition in children under five in the area for funding the induction exercise which he says, has been transformative.
Mariam Akiror – the Advocacy and Strategic Partnership Coordinator at Action Against Hunger USA-Uganda (ACF). Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
While giving her address at the closure of the engagement, Mariam Akiror – the Advocacy and Strategic Partnership Coordinator at Action Against Hunger USA-Uganda (ACF) mentioned that with the localization agenda of the project, it was worth for them to fund the just concluded induction as it will equip members of the council with exclusive skills to foster development, implement policies right from the grassroot.
“Kikuube is one of the five districts where ACF is implementing the Right to Grow Project therefore it is important to have this training for it to meet its agenda of reducing stunting and malnutrition in the area”. She stated.
Meanwhile, Ismail Ahmad, the Senior Inspector in the Ministry of Local Government challenged council and technical staff to come up with proper local revenue enhancing plan. ‘They need to think about actual challenges in local revenue collection then put a budget for it’.
“They need to proper assessment of the revenue sources they have using technical officers. They should have tax payers register at a sub county level to gauge tax collection in the area”. Said Ahmad.
He added that it is important for them to close leakages arguing that trading license legally is supposed to be collected by the Local government themselves. ‘They should also enhance trading license which must be collected with local service tax that they can get from the factory, game reserve next to them in addition tourism’.
Peter Banura, the Chairperson LCV for Kikuube District. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
However, Peter Banura, the Chairperson LCV for Kikuube District stated that there is always delay in remitting the revenue from the Central government which paralyses implementation of certain obligations.
“This financial year, we had a target of collecting UGX 1.5Billion but along the way had shortfalls as those who were collecting revenue from the lake were chased away from landing cites but for last year, we managed to collect about UGX.600Million”.
Kikuube District has 333 villages, 5 Sub Counties and 2 constituencies with a population of over 400,000 people. It has a forest reserve, Hoima Sugar factory, oil fields all of which can generate them good tax.
Speaking to Zulia Nyakahara, the Secretary for Finance Kikuube district local government said due to the increased population size in Kikuube district some of the markets have increased and the financial committee has intended to purchase big land that can establish standard market structure.
Initially, the Induction Programme by Ministry of Local Government covers areas such as decentralization and the Local Government System, Communication and Public Speaking, Management of Council and the Rules of Procedure, Legislation and Recent Legal and Policy Reforms, Planning, Budgeting and Financial Management, The Parish Development Model, Urbanization and Physical Planning among others.