Civil Society umbrella queries budget shortfall
February 28- Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Uganda and technocrats in local government have agreed that inadequate funding is the main factor affecting the poor delivery of services across the country.
“Budgets for Local Governments are always dwindling and this affects their service delivery, because you cannot work with a limited budget. Government would have to allocate 38% of the total budget towards Local Government to be able to achieve service delivery,” John Gumisiriza, an economist in the Local Government Commission said.
Representatives from several CSOs, were appearing before the Parliamentary committee on Finance. Gumisiriza said although the National Budget total amount keeps increasing, the share allocated to local government has remained at UGX2.4 trillion (just over $660 million) which has stifled services yet local governments have the potential to raise UGX685 billion (just under $200 million) in revenues each year if better supported. Gumisiriza said revenue collections as at the FY 2013/14 stood at UGX153 billion.
Lawrence Bategeka, the Hoima Municipality MP said in order to explore its potential, local governments have to look for more avenues for collecting direct tax.
Presenting their proposals for the FY2017/18 National Budget, CSOs under their umbrella Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group and Seatini Uganda presented a number of alternatives.
These include increasing the excise duty on cosmetics and perfumes except creams used by the albino in the treatment of their skin to 15% from 10% to protect local industries. They suggested waiving the 18% VAT levied on imported malaria rapid treatment diagnostic tests, and also widening the tax base by capturing artisanal miners, stone and aggregate sand miners, prisons, police, boda boda riders, judges and the army in the group that pays tax in order to boost local government revenues.