Mbarara City plans to spend Shs 45.4bln for FY 2024/2025

MBARARA, April 2, 2024 – Mbarara City intends to spend Shs 44.4 billion during the financial year [FY] 2024/25, which is slightly higher than Shs 39.3bln earmarked in the current FY 2023/24.

According to Ronald Taremwa Bamuhaira, Secretary for Finance and Administration, Mbarara City’s resource envelope will comprise locally raised revenues of Shs 10.1bln which accounts for 22.3 percent, and central government transfers of 35.3 bln [77.7 percent] of the total budget.

“Our local revenue base in the next financial year is projected to account for 22.3 percent of our total budget and the remaining 77.7 percent will come from the central government coffers. I beg to move that this Honourable House resolves itself into a committee of supply for consideration and approval of proposals for the estimates of revenue and expenditure FY 2024/2025,” Taremwa explained

According to Section 77[6] of the Local Government Act, 1997 and the Public Finance Management [PFM] Act 2015 that the Chairperson of a Local Government Council in Uganda shall cause to be prepared and laid before the council, estimates of revenue and expenditure of the Council for the coming financial year.

“Under section 77[ 7], the council shall not later than 31st day of May, consider and approve the budget and work plans of the council,” Taremwa said.

According to Taremwa, Mbarara City’s budget is consolidated within the national strategy for this year’s budget which focuses on increasing average household incomes and improving the quality of life of Ugandans through sustainable industrialisation for inclusive growth, regional equity, employment and sustainable wealth creation for all.

“The budget for the financial year 2024/2025 has been formulated to facilitate the implementation of the city development plan through promotion of production, productivity, investment, and value addition while sustaining investments in infrastructure and critical social services as well as improving overall public service delivery,” he noted.

The upcoming budget for Mbarara City prioritises health and education and management services like administration, human resource and records management. Roads and engineering was allocated Shs Roads and engineering department Shs 4bln despite the ongoing infrastructural developments taking shape in the new city under Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development [USMID] programme.

The education department was allocated Shs 21.5bln, management support services Shs 5.6bln, health department Shs 4.7bln, natural resource management Shs 1.1bln, trade industry and local economic development Shs 286mln.

Further, finance and accounting department Shs 1.1bln, statutory bodies Shs 1bln, production department Shs 339mln, community based services department Shs 269mln, planning department Shs 261mln, internal audit Shs 91mln among others.

Taremwa asked the public to cooperate with the city council together with the technocrats to ensure that the projections made are realised to implement service delivery in the city.

”I urge you to embrace the spirit of togetherness to see that all the projects and services are implemented for the betterment of Mbarara city,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mbarara City has also introduced a new tax on city developers to enhance local revenue collection.

According to Assy Abirebe Tumwesigire, Town clerk Mbarara City, the new tax will be lawfully implemented under section 33[1] of the Physical Planning Act, 2010 which requires that development permission be obtained from a Physical Planning Committee before carrying out any development.

“All intending developers will apply for the development permission using a modified form and successful applicants shall obtain a development permission certificate which will be a modification form in turn be required by the building control committee on submission of application for a building permit,” Tumwesigire explained.

Under this new tax, commercial and industrial permits will be charged Shs 170,000 while other land use developments like residential, institutional, civic permits will pay Shs 150,000.

“Revenue collection is a critical element in the financing of the provision of services to the people of Mbarara city. And the following fees have been proposed to be paid before an intending developer obtains a development permission certificate for us to collect enough revenue for qualitative service delivery and developments,” Tumwesigire said.

Benon Kajubi, one of the estate developers in Mbarara City, welcomed the new tax, saying that it would deter illegal land developers and enforce order in the city.

“Actually, this tax should have come as early as the city naming because when you look around, illegal structures are coming up, people are building and emptying in River Rwizi, others are blocking the drainage system. So I don’t think this tax is alarming but I think it will help the physical planners to catch up with people who are developing our city into a slum which we all don’t want,” Kajubi noted.

Lt Col. James Mwesigye, Mbarara Resident City Commissioner, challenged the locals to always hold their leaders accountable as one way of blocking them from taking part in corruption, which he said cripples service delivery.

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