Ministry of Local Government has been named as the worst ministry in terms of absorption of its allocated budget.
According to the report from the committee of Public Service and Local Government on the ministerial policy statement, Local Government ministry spent only 6.3% of its 2017/18 FY budget allocation as of December 2017. Local Government ministry spent only Shs1.614billion out of Shs235.974billion that was approved.
“This gross underperformance was mainly attributed to the external donor financing where Shs235.974 billion was approved but only Shs1.614billion had been spent by the end of December 20l7. This was as a result of delays in signing of contracts but this had been solved,” MPs noted in their report.
Under section 95-99 of local governments’ act, the Ministry of Local Government’s key function is to guide, coordinate and support local governments to efficiently and sustainably deliver decentralized services to the people.
However, it is not only ministry of Local Government that has such a low absorption rate. Other sectors such as Ministry of Public Service, Public Service Commission and Local Government Finance Commission also failed to absorb 50% of the approved budget for the FY 2017/18. Public Service spent 30% of its budget, while Public Service Commission spent 45% and Local Government Finance Commission spent 44%.
As a result, Ministry of Local Government has suffered budget reduction of 25% except for the Public Service and Public Service Commission which will have an increment of 2% and 15% respectively.
Meanwhile, MPs also noted that Local governments remain constrained by shortage of staff largely attributed to inadequacy of funding for staff recruitment, inability to attract and retain highly qualified personnel. Currently, the average staffing levels stand at 54% for District and Municipal Councils respectively. With barely half of the required staff in place, it is difficult to ensure optimum delivery of services by Local Governments.