Kampala-Wakiso, Arua, Kasese, Luweero and Tororo districts will be among top 10 districts taking home the largest share of the Shs29 trillion Budget for the Financial Year 2017/2018, beginning July 1.
But Ntoroko, which has a population of only 67,005 people and Amudat, with a population of 105,767 people, are set to get the least portions among the districts.
A breakdown of the Budget read by Finance minister Matia Kasaija on June 8, indicates that Shs2.5 trillion of the Shs29 trillion Budget, which government has planned to spend this year, has been allocated to 120 districts and 42 municipal councils.
A total of Shs2.1 trillion has been earmarked to finance the local government’s recurrent expenditure, while another Shs385.5 billion will finance their development budgets.
However, the allocations to individual districts has once again raised questions about the criteria government uses to apportion the resources, with Shadow minister for local government, Ms Betty Nambooze, once more accusing the government of unfairness.
“There is inequitable distribution of resources. There is actually no standard formula used in determining how much is given to which local government,” Ms Nambooze, who is also the Mukono Municipality MP, said on Friday.
A breakdown of the allocations indicate that Wakiso, which by the 2014 National Housing and Population Census had a population of 1,997,418 people, will be taking the highest amount of money. It has been allocated Shs50.7 billion, with Shs36.8 billion going towards its recurrent expenditure and another Shs13.8 billion for its development budget.
The second biggest portion of Shs50 billion will go to Arua, a district with a population of 782,077 people, with Shs42.5 to finance its recurrent budget and Shs7.4 billion for its development.
Kasese District, which was in November last year the theatre of violent clashes which reportedly claimed the lives of 87 royal guards and 16 police officers, is to receive the third largest share of the Budget. The district with a population of 694,992 people was allocated Shs45 billion, with Shs41 billion going towards its recurrent expenditure and Shs3.9 billion for development.
Luweero District, with a population of 456,958 people, comes in with the fourth highest share, taking Shs39.3 billion, with Shs36.4 billion going towards its recurrent expenditure and Shs2.8 billion to finance its development budget.
At number five on the list of those taking the biggest allocations is Tororo, which has a population of 517,082 people, getting Shs34.1 billion with Shs29.3 billion going towards its recurrent expenditure and Shs4.7 billion towards financing its development budget.
Others among top 10 districts with highest appropriations are Iganga District Shs34 billion; Ntungamo Shs31.9 billion; Mbale Shs29.3 billion; Mukono Shs29.3 billion, and Yumbe District with Shs26 billion.
Districts that will be taking the smallest allocations are Napak (Shs9.7 billion); Kween (Shs9.7 billion); Rubirizi (Shs9.6 billion); Pakwach (Shs9.4 billion); and Otuke (Shs9.2 billion).
The five with the least portions are Bullisa (Shs8.5 billion), Buhweju (Shs7.5 billion), and Buvuma (Shs6.9 billion).
The last two are Ntoroko, which has a population of 67,005 people and Amudat, which has a population of 105,767 people.
Ntoroko has been appropriated Shs6.6 billion and Amudat Shs5 billion.
However, Finance ministry spokesperson Jim Mugunga was quick to dismiss talk of unfairness, saying the process is “more complex than meets the eye.”
“The budgeting process starts with the districts and their budgets also start with the lower local governments. There are causes which they expect to fund, but cannot fund fully so that is where government comes in,” Mr Mugunga said.
Gulu tops municipalities
Gulu is top on the list of the five municipalities which have been appropriated the highest slices of the Shs29 trillion Budget. Unlike other municipalities and districts whose recurrent expenditures are much higher than the development budgets, Gulu’s development budget is almost two and a half times more than what has been earmarked for its recurrent expenditure.
It has been allocated a total of Shs31.3 billion with Shs9.6 billion for financing its recurrent expenditure and Shs21.6 billion for development budget.
Mbarara Municipality takes the second highest budgetary allocation among the 42 municipalities across the country, getting Shs24.6 billion with Shs11 billion for development budget and Shs13.4 for recurrent expenditure.
The other three big takers are Mbale (Shs19.7 billion), Lira Sh17.4 billion), and Jinja with Shs16.1 billion.
Municipalities with the smallest portions are Kisoro (Shs1.7 billion); Ntungamo (Shs2.4 billion), Moroto (Shs3.2 billion), Busia (Shs3.2 billion), and Bugiri with Shs2.9 billion.
“Initially, we were told that allocations are based on the population sizes, but Nansana Municipality has more people than Gulu. Why would it [Gulu] be getting much more than Nansana? Why are those towns [Gulu and Mabarara], which were planned long ago being given funds for planning, while new ones that need to be planned are not?” Ms Nambooze asks.
Gulu’s allocation of Shs31. billion is almost three and a half times more than Nansana’s allocation of Shs9.6 billion.
“Population might be an issue, but there are other factors such as attractiveness. Funding roads in the city, for example, might be more attractive than funding roads in the rural areas,” Mr Mugunga argues.