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House Committee queries Local Govt Regulations

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The Regulations, which are meant to operationalize the work of cities management as per the Local Government Act, were presented to Parliament on 16 November 2022 and referred to the Committee on Local Government for scrutiny.

The Minister of State for Local Government, Hon. Victoria Rusoke, appeared before the Committee on Tuesday, 29 November 2022 to give clarifications on the regulations.

Hon. Godfrey Onzima, the Chairperson of the Committee, said that some of the provisions in the regulations are redundant, arguing that they are the same as those in the Local Governments Act.

He cited the regulations which provide for the existence of city councils, city service commissions and city land boards.

“In my opinion, some of these regulations seem to be a duplication of the law. Regulation 3(b, c and d) assume that there exists a city service commission and city land board. These structures are a creature of a statute and should be created before conferring duties and powers,” Onzima said.

The regulations provide that the Local Governments Act provides that a city shall be equivalent to a district that has district councils, district service commissions and district land boards.

Legislators raised concern on the regulation that provides for sharing of assets between a city and district.

Hon. Ephraim Biraaro (NRM, Buhweju West County) noted that a number of districts with newly created cities continue to operate under the jurisdiction of the old entities, in terms of structures.

He attributed this to lack of funds for districts to relocate their headquarters.

“If the Central Government has no provision for startups for old entities displaced my new ones, then there is a problem. Where is the compensation to enable the districts to move their centers?” Biraaro asked.

Hon. Jovanice Twinobusingye (NRM, Kiruhura District) observed that the Shs30 million given to sub-counties to set up new headquarters is insufficient.

“Many town councils have taken over buildings in new cities where the sub counties say the land title is in their name. We need to come up with a clear law that spells out how these entities will be facilitated with money to accommodate them,” said Twinobusingye.

The Minister said city councils, city service commissions and city land boards are already operational.

“The law is in place and it says cities are equivalent to districts. We have already recruited staff for the city service commissions which are operating under the law. We consulted the Attorney General in whatever we did,” Rusoke said.

She made a call for support for supplementary funding of Shs2 billion to enhance development of new operational structures for districts whose headquarters have been taken over by new cities.

“Every new town council received Shs50 million and every new sub county received Shs31 million as startup funds. We are increasingly doing that in an organised manner and eventually every new entity will have its headquarters,” Rusoke added.

Other regulations provided for include management of city council and city division revenues, physical development planning and boundaries, and human resources management in cities.

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