Why Jinja City Council is faulting hotel owners for causing revenue loss

(Last Updated On: 5 April 2023)

On Thursday, March 30, 2023, Jinja City Council presented its budget estimates of shs40.3b for the financial year 2023/2024 with education taking a lion’s share.

The estimated figures are less by over shs16.4b than that of the 2022/2023 financial year.

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 (CDP) which targets 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.

Read more here: Jinja city council tables shs40b budget for the financial year 2023/2024

Waniala, in his presentation, 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

Room rates and Jinja’s prestige

The average price for a 3-star property in Jinja is USD 41. The typical price for a 4-star hotel in Jinja is USD 79. The average price for a 5-star property in Jinja is USD 57.

Jinja is famous globally mainly because it is the source of the great River Nile. It is in Jinja that the river Nile leaves Lake Victoria and starts a 6,650km journey to Egypt. Jinja derives its name from the huge rocks that were found in the area along the river Nile.

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