Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa has revealed that government will not be in a position to increase the salaries of local government leaders for the next three years, despite the visible need to improve their welfare.
Tayebwa said that the same applies to Parliament, which he said he had already been put on notice. “I know the issue of the welfare of leaders is a big challenge, but I want to tell you our resource envelope is small. I do not want to tell you lies because only 13.5 percent of Ugandans pay taxes. I have told this Parliament that they should not expect any salary increment,” Tayebwa said.
Tayebwa said that the government’s position is to put the resources into service delivery and thus warned that the next budget will not include salary enhancement. “We shall however support you through your Saccos of Emyooga such that you can earn side income,” he said.
Tayebwa said this while opening the first regional outreach of the 11th Parliament at Mountain of the Moon Hotel, Fort Portal on Friday, 28 April 2023.
His remarks were in response to the President of Uganda Local Government Association, Richard Rwabuhinga who is also the Chairman of Kabarole District.
Rwabuhinga had implored Parliament to increase local leaders’ pay in the forthcoming budget saying local leaders are still being paid at the 2011 salary scale.
He said a district chairman takes home a monthly salary of Shs1.7 million, a sub-county leader earns Shs 370,000 while a district councilor earns Shs 250,000. “Parliament should add money in the budget whether small for the remuneration of local leaders. It should look into the issue of taxing the little money given to councilors in districts,” he said.
Ntoroko District Chairman, William Kasoro complained of the late release of funds by the Finance Ministry which he said leaves districts with incomplete projects.“Some of the funds that were returned to the Treasury last financial year have not been re-voted to districts; we are remaining with a few days to end the current financial year. These monies will come towards the end of the financial year and we shall not be able to use it,” Kasoro said.
The regional Parliament outreaches are aimed at fostering the roles legislators play in their constituencies as well as building strong linkages with local governments as the key players in service delivery. “Local Councils will benefit from engagements with Members of Parliament; this makes it easy when they are seeking the support of Parliament in matters such as bridging the financial gaps,” said the Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesige.