The Urban Authorities Association of Uganda has petitioned the Minister of Local Government seeking amendment of Public Finance Management.
Through the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Economic Development introduced regulations under Integrated Financial Management System in which all local revenue collected by Local governments must be deposited at special account in Bank of Uganda and thereafter seek authority from Accountant General to utilize it.
However, the Mayors and LC 3 Chairpersons under their association, Urban Authorities Association of Uganda -UAAU say the regulations have instead crippled service delivery and defeated decentralization policy.
The Association have appealed to Ministry of Local Government Raphael Magyezi demanding that the PFMA is amended and government revert to the old policy where local government can collect and utilize local revenue without seeking approval from Ministry of Finance.
Majid Batambuze the Chairperson of Urban Authorities Association of Uganda says that once the money is deposited in Bank of Uganda, the Ministry of Finance is slow to approve requests to utilize the funds, which affects service delivery.
Batambuze who is also Jinja municipality Mayor explains this bureaucracy has crippled service delivery in local governments as they chase for approvals.
Osman Kassim Ramathan the LCIII Chairperson of Bombo town council says that the Ministry of Finance explained that the regulations were intended to ease work but instead it has crippled service delivery as staff spend months doing nothing but chasing for approval of requisitions from Accountant General.
The regulations have not only affected Urban authorities but equally the districts. Several activities in Nakaseke district were paralyzed for close to four months over limitations by Integrated Financial Management System.
Among the activities that were suspended are convening sectoral committees to review performance, supervision of government programmes, auditing, repair of government vehicles and payment of office imprest among others. This was after Nakaseke district failed to secure approval to utilize 312,000,000 million shillings which they had collected as local revenue.
Magyezi says that he received the complaints and will meet the Minister of Finance to discuss possible amendments.
The Ministry said that the regulations and IFMS were intended to increase the level of transparency, faster operations, harmonized chart of accounts, ease of monitoring and reporting.
Other listed beneficiaries were effective budgetary and commitment control and Movement and tracking of documents for approval among others.