SEATINI AND OXFAM HOLD TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE SHARING WORKSHOP ON LOCAL REVENUE MOBILIZATION AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
On 15th and 16th March 2022, SEATINI Uganda conducted a two-day training and experience sharing workshop for the Local Government Officials from Nebbi and Zombo districts on Local revenue Mobilization and Accountability. The purpose of the training was to equip technical and political leaders with best practices that can be adopted to improve revenue mobilization, review and discuss the policy and practical issues hindering Local Revenue Mobilization, create a better understanding of the importance of local revenue and how it can be used to improve service delivery in Nebbi and Zombo districts, provide a platform to share experiences, opportunities, and challenges encountered during Local Revenue Mobilization processes from the targeted districts Nebbi, Zombo among others.
The meeting having been held in Arua city as the host district, it was officiated by His Worship the Mayor of Arua City Mr. Wadri Sam Nyakua. While officiating the two-day workshop for Nebbi and Zombo district representatives he highlighted that Local Government Issues across the country are almost the same and the difference between the urban and rural/local councils are the better facilities within the urban council. He also indicated that Lower Local Governments (LLGs) are faced with several challenges including, inter alia; being dependent on Market dues and trading licenses that generate inadequate revenue, high expectation from the citizens around service delivery with little revenue, poor citizens toward government, dwindling Central Government transfers, high unemployment rate. The Local Revenue Enhancement Plans (LREPs) from some Local governments are not holistically implemented, and other Lower Local Governments are not using their LREPs to mobilize their Local Revenue.
In his speech, Mr. Wadri urged the leaders to invest more in social services delivery, and infrastructure to facilitate trade. “Leaders should encourage the ‘‘wanainchi’’ (citizens) to participate in income-generating activities, in that way, West Nile will, in particular, and Local Governments, in general, will have more sources of tax”, he added. In closing, the Mayor encouraged the leaders to stop being ‘desk officers’ and participate actively in activities that support income-generating activities at the individual level and the citizens at large. This will result in increased income thus checking corruption as well as revenue resource mobilization, and collection to have resources to develop the areas.
The Local Government Officials were taken through different topics including, among others, Understanding Effective Local Revenue Mobilization and Accountability Mechanisms; Effective Local Revenue Mobilization Cycle; Effective Local Revenue Mobilization Cycle and the holistic layout of the Local Revenue Enhancement (LREP). The training involved making presentations from the consultant and groups.
Some of the key issues highlighted by the Local Government Officials from Nebbi and Zombo districts during the training included;
• People are resistant to paying taxes because they do not see where their little contribution goes,
• There is poor revenue redistribution from the Central Government
• There is difficulty in local revenue collection due to lack of facilities like motorcycles, authentic receipts among others.
The Local Government officials appreciated the training and they were able to come up with 4 key policy recommendations to push forward at the national level. These were;
a) Revenue collection through IRAS was prematurely introduced
b) Exemption of drug shops
c) Transfer of all Local Government Revenue to Central Government/consolidated fund
d) Presidential directives on local Revenue
During the meeting Local Government Officials from Zombo and Nebbi districts expressed interest and commitment to work with the SEATINI-Uganda and the Consult in the development of their Local Revenue Enhancement Plans (LREPs) for improved Local Revenue Mobilization. As a follow-up, SEATINI-Uganda is planning to Liaise with Oxfam as well as other donors to allocate funds towards the review and development of comprehensive LREPs for Nebbi and Zombo districts. They also requested SEATINI-Ug and the partners to extend such arrangement to the on the annual or semi-annual.
SEATINI Uganda in partnership with Oxfam is implementing a project titled Power of Voices. Under this project, SEATINI Uganda’s focus is to advocate for fair and equitable tax policies which not only spur the growth of investments in Uganda but also contribute to improving the livelihoods of the people especially the marginalized including women, youth, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and further contribute to reducing inequality in Uganda. One of the outcomes under this project looks at Empowered citizens/youth have oversight and voice-over trade and fiscal issues and governments have increased political will for inclusive, transformative development.