Lawmakers want five new districts created

A parliamentary committee has recommended the creation of five new more districts.
The new districts are to be curved out of Wakiso, Kibaale, Kabale, Arua and Kasese districts.

In case the proposal sails through, it would bring the total number of districts to 117 from the current 112.

The recommendation is entailed in a leaked report of the Parliamentary Public Service and Local Government Committee on a motion for a resolution of Parliament on creation of new districts. But the opposition shadow minister of Local Government and a member of the committee, Ms Betty Nambooze, has written a minority report opposing the move.

Support for struggling districts
She instead suggests government should fully equip the already struggling districts that are poorly facilitated and conduct a thorough performance assessment and evaluation study to merge the less viable and fully facilitating those in place.

“I do agree with some sections of the report but my point of departure is the unconvincing basis that informed the recommendations vis-a-vis the challenges posed by the creation of more local government units,” she states.

“The central government should look at means of increasing and sustaining funding for such districts instead of having to go through the rigours of financing new ones,”

The MPs in a draft report said the creation of new districts should be done starting with very large five districts for ease of administration and taking services closer to the people.

The President last year put in place a moratorium on the creation of more districts but the MPs in a draft report, said it should be treated as a temporary measure to allow government evaluate the creation and expansion of new administrative units with a view to focusing on quality.

“Using the national population census information and opportunities, the government should address the challenges that hinder effective service delivery, thereby, transforming the socio economic and political life of people,” the MPs stated in the report.

Ms Nambooze, however, emphasized that there is little evidence that the creation of new districts has benefitted citizens as intended.

Quoting an analysis of the ministerial policy statement of 20142015, she said t34 districts are operating without CAOS, 22 without deputy CAOs and the rest have only one deputy CAO instead of two.

“Sixty one districts are operating principle personnel officers, fifty nine districts without chief finance officers, while fifty seven have no district planners. Fifty six districts have no district education officers and 49 have no district health officers,” she said.

Also in the report, 74 districts have no production officers while 82 have no engineers.

Dangers of having more districts
She argued that multiplication of new districts has led to high costs in administration both for the mother and new districts leading to poor service delivery.

The ministry of local government‘s annual assessment report on district performance shows that many don’t meet the minimum set of requirements in such areas as accounting, auditing, capacity building, monitoring and gender mainstreaming.

Government last year indefinitely stayed its proposal for the creation of 25 new districts, saying there is no money to fund them.

President Museveni instead asked the MPs for more time to conduct a comprehensive study into the matter and come back with answers.

What we should focus on
“The central government should look at means of increasing and sustaining funding for such districts instead of having to go through the rigours of financing new ones,”
betty nambooze, MP mukono municipality

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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