lira city

Lira City Council’s shs49b budget and unaccounted for shs5m for local media

By Ceasar Okello

Lira, June 2, 2023: Lira City Council has approved 49 billion shillings for the financial year 2023/2024 budget to be used for taking service delivery to different Wards in the City.

Lira City Council is among the ten cities that were created and started operational in July 2021. That year, it continued to operate under the budget of the former Lira Municipal Council.

During a heated Council meeting held on May 31 at Lira Hotel, Secretary of Finance and Administration James Omara Elem said in the incoming financial year their Indicative Planning Figure has increased.

According to Omara Elem, out of the shs49 billion approved budget, education takes the lion shares of shs13.2 billion translating to 39 percent while Works and Transport takes 33 percent.

Omara also adds that in the coming budget, their main emphasis is to put more money on capital development and they hope to collect locally raised revenue.

Out of the shs49 billion, shs43 billion will come from Central government while shs6 billion is expected from local revenue.

Sam Atul, the Mayor of Lira City says as City Council they hope to procure own road equipment such as a grader since they cannot depend on what government always give, adding it takes time.

The session turns ‘hot’

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Council almost lost its vision after the Speaker, Patrick Okwir while in his communication revealed that in the financial year 2022/2023, Council approved shs5 million to cater for Press and Media houses in Lira City.

Okwir stated that their plan was to see that when the Speaker or Mayor addresses the Press, they should be served with water or soda and given a modest transport refund. But it was a puzzle to realize that the approved money never reached his office.

Mayor Atul soon lashed at the Speaker, saying shs5 million was not meant to facilitate Lira local media but was to cater for national media and also do some advertising for the City.

Juliet Abuba is the Female Councillor for Lira City East ‘B’ to Lira City Council. She said it would be baseless for Lira City Council to state that they facilitate media personalities who always cover their activities.

Abuba, looking furious, supported the Mayor, stating that local press cannot be considered because their “impacts are minimal”. “Their different media houses should always facilitate their reporters.”

Male Youth Councillor, Hagard Oluma said Lira Journalists are “very okay” doing their work even if they are not given water or small facilitation.

Caro Gloria Aduku turned rowdy on both Mayor and Abuba, saying the shs5 million for Press approved in near ending financial year must be refunded by those who had a hand in it.

Aduku said local Press team from Lira and Lango play a very big role in disseminating information about their activities and development of the City, but looks bad when some few people are benefiting from the small budget which was put to cater for them whenever they go for Council meetings and Press briefing.

She promised to follow the matter to the dot and ensure that the crooks that ate it are brought to book and refund the money.

Much as both Mayor and some of his Councilors are totally against Lira Journalists, James Omara Elem, Secretary Finance and Administration apologized to the media fraternity in Lira City for what he terms the “reckless submission by members of the council”.

“I want to apologize to you Journalists for the comments and submissions made on you the press by our members; that were not the resolutions of the Council but rather individual act. Lira City Council should not be crucified for the action of few Hon Members,” Omara Elem.

Omara who is popular for hosting talk back shows, however, said in the coming financial year (2023/2024), they have shs15 million to cater for office of the Speaker and Mayor for communications purposes.

Like Omara, Mayor Sam Atul is a product of media and has been in the managerial position for over 15 years before ‘quitting’ it for a City Mayoral office in 2021.

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