By Emmanuel Okwii
Residents of western division in Tororo municipality have said that the budget estimates tabled by their leaders is exorbitant and may call for stringent tax collection measures to the detriment of residents. The division council expects to run a budget of shs362 million in the financial year 2013/2014.
According to the finance secretary at the division, Mr. Mohammed Mayende, 30% of the funds will be raised from local revenues while 70% will be financed by the government through grants. He however said that incase funds from the central government will not be remitted in time, then the council will take it upon itself to generate it from local revenue.
“The division has a capacity to fund 50% of the budget if property rates are remitted in time. The mother council will also be expected to remit all taxes paid to the division in time to avoid a shortfall,” Mr. Jenkins Ongaria, The division LC3 chairperson said
In response, the residents who spoke to Uganda Picks said that the budget was too fat for a mere division, saying it was likely to affect business men in the division.
“Financing 50% from local revenue will put us into trouble with the town council’s collection. They will tax anything and this will affect our businesses,” Mr. Julius Ofwono, a resident in the area said. He also added that the council always drew budgets yet there was no improvement registered in the infrastructure of the division.
The LC3 chairperson, Mr. Ongaria however appealed to the technocrats to ensure that the budget is made simpler to fit the community instead of using it as an avenue of defrauding the residents yet the community does not see any benefit.
“Property rates at the division should be reviewed and re-evaluated so that the division gets updated records of all ratable properties within the area,” Ongaria went on.
Mr. Felix Gabriel Ofwono, The Senior Assistant Town Clerk encouraged all political leaders in the area to ensure that they support enforcement of council policies other than being seen as saboteurs.
“Politicians are to blame for the poor implementation of these policies because they sometimes don’t tell the electorate the truth. They believe that by acting this way, they will jeopardize their political careers not knowing that they are indirectly affecting service delivery,” Ofwono said.