News & Up­dates:

Members of Parliament have tasked Government to consider reinstating the District Discretional Equalization Grant (DDEG) in allocation of resources to local governments in the financial year 2022/23.

The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, directed yesterday during a plenary session that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development present a comprehensive statement on why DDEG financing for local governments was scrapped.

Tayebwa’s directive followed a matter of national importance raised by John Magolo Faith the Bungokho County North MP over the scrapping of the DDEG from local governments.

Magolo told the House that in the month of April, Local governments received communication from the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury that the DDEG grant had been scrapped and that local governments will no longer receive money under this grant.

“The local governments have been using this grant to supplement primary health care grants, construction of pit latrines and survey of public places for the government,” Magolo said.

Magolo added that scrapping the grant will halt the operations of the local governments.

“This will cripple the operations of the local government. My prayer is that this circular written is withdrawn, the money is released and the grant reinstated,” he added.

Christine Apolot the Kumi District Woman MP who also doubles as the Vice Chairperson of Public Service and Local Government, commenting on the matter told the house that, it was surprising that there was no provision for the DDEG according to the budget estimates for Financial year 2022/23.

“The utilization of DDEG has clearly been seen in some of the districts. In my district of Kumi, when new administrative units were created, there was no provision for the establishment of administrative headquarters and some of the sub counties used DDEG to establish structures. Let us see it as an important grant to the Local Governments,” Apolot said.

“The circular came from the Ministry of Finance; therefore, the Minister of Local Government can only say, ‘I implemented a directive from finance’. Report to this House with an update and clear view of reinstating the funds,” Tayebwa said.

While responding to the matter the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija told the House that some funds have not been sent to the local governments and he blamed Covid-19 pandemic for the delays and thus the decision to scrap the grant.

“This Covid disoriented us as a Government; money has not been fully realized which has affected the release to the local governments but I do ask that the Minister of Local Government to give us an explanation as well,” Kasaija said.

Tayebwa wondered how the Ministry of Local Government can explain matters pertaining a directive that came from the Ministry of Finance. Ends…