Jinja city council tables shs40b budget for the financial year 2023/2024

Last Updated on: 5th April 2023, 10:11 am

The education sector has taken a lion’s share of the Jinja City Council draft budget estimates for the financial year 2023/24 laid down during a council meeting held at the council chambers on Thursday.

The Secretary for Finance Twaha Waniala, in his presentation, told councillors and a handful of civil servants that the budget was aligned with the 5 year City Development Plan which is targeting the 20 national programs.

He said the budget would address challenges of staff accommodation, inadequate classroom blocks, titling of school land; removal of asbestos (still found in some schools).

Twaha also said the budget will address mindset change “among some parents”, including other areas.

According to Section 77(1) and Section 82(1) of the Local Government Act Cap 243 and the Local Governments Financial and Accounting Manuals, the budget is to be presented by the chairperson or the designated representative of the Local Council to the Council as a Bill for consideration by Council.

In this context, Waniala presented on behalf of Jinja City Mayor Alton Peter Kasolo. At the national level, Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija does the same on behalf of President Yoweri Museveni.

Surprisingly, this year’s budget has been reduced to 40,341,019,885 from 56,709,430,000 for the current financial year 2022/23. The drop has been attributed to a reduction in grants from the Central Government.

Waniala, in his highlights, told councillors the bulk sources of revenue are expected to come from the central government releases and donations from partners (shs29,250,019,885) constituting 72% while local revenues from the two divisions of Southern and Northern will yield shs11,091,000,000, representing 27.5%.

He blamed the Council’s poor revenue collection on its failure to track visitors sleeping in the numerous hotels and guest houses due to the poor registration system in the sector.

Waniala used the occasion to urge the Parliament to enact an enabling law to compel hotel owners and users to always register as is done in most countries because it also serves as a security measure.

“…most hotels do not register their visitors, which makes it difficult for us to track down how many visitors slept in a certain hotel at a particular time, while some hotel owners even fear asking for particulars…,” he said.

 The Speaker of the Council Bernard Mbayo who presided over the budget meeting expressed concern at the poor time management among many councillors. He says they come when the meeting is ending “just to sign for allowances”.

“…we are paid to deliberate and initiate policies on behalf of the voters who are the taxpayers, so let it be clear that after 30 minutes no latecomer will be allowed inside,” Mbayo warned.

Aligned to the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, Mbayo also had no kind words for civil servants who do not attend council meetings even on a day the budget meant to give them money to implement programs were being laid.

The new Town Clerk Edward Lwanga transferred from the neighboring Iganga Municipal Council was officially unveiled to councillors, who challenged him to restore hope at the City Hall.

Jinja Mayor Alton Peter Kasolo said he was disappointed with the slow pace at which the USMID road project was moving in Jinja, fearing that the World Bank-funded project due to close in December might punish Jinja.

He singled out the consultant Eng John William Byaruhanga who represents Professional Engineering Consultant Ltd and UB Consulting Engineers Ltd, jointly handling the roads being renovated by Zhongmei Engineering Group.

“This consultant talks a lot but the words do not translate to anything tangible on the ground, this is terrible because some residents are not even aware some renovations are taking place…,” Kasolo lamented.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *