The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, is perturbed by reports that Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) are undermining the powers of district councils by submitting budgets to the finance ministry without scrutiny by the councils.
Tayebwa said he had received reports from district councillors and speakers revealing that the district budget proposals presented to Parliament were not scrutinised by their respective district councils.
“Yesterday, I had calls with speakers and councillors of some districts and they said they will be having council meetings by the end of May to approve their budget. I wondered whose budgets local governments are going to present to the Ministry of Finance when we already have budget proposals,” said Tayebwa.
He added: “Parliament is considering the budget proposals and we already have consolidated budget proposals and even the Committee on Public Service and Local Government has already presented budgets of the local governments. So, now whose budgets are local governments going to scrutinise?”
Tayebwa made these remarks while chairing the plenary sitting on Thursday, 05 May 2022.
He warned that such a practice distorts the whole concept of decentralisation where districts are required to determine their funding priorities. “So where does this take us on issues of decentralisation? It is like waking up now to find that the finance ministry is already implementing the budget that we have not yet approved,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker pledged that Parliament will defend the powers of local governments in budget appropriation. “The way we protect our powers of appropriation is the same way we should protect those of local governments,” he said.
Hon. Raphael Magyezi, the local government minister has been summoned to explain to Parliament the budget process in local governments and why the CAOs are undermining the powers of district councils.