KOBOKO. Councilors of Koboko district council on Thursday declined to pass the 2018/19 financial year budget over unpaid emoluments.
The district councilors say they had not received their allowances for the past nine months yet they were not given reasons why the payments had delayed.
After about 45 minutes of deliberations which were characterized by hecklings and taunts, the angry councilors decided to move out of the council hall in protest.
The budget which was presented before the council by the secretary for Finance Mr Samanya Dramiga, led to bitter exchange of words between the speaker, Mr George Ambe and some of the councilors, mainly back benchers.
The speaker later suspended the finance committee chairman Mr Naftali Kenyi for two council sittings for alleged flouting of council rules of procedure.
Female councilor for Dranya sub county, Ms Pascolina Amile blamed the acrimony on district chairman Mr Hassan Nginya for not always pressing for the issues of councilors to the district executive committees and the technocrats for implementation.
"Most times when we present our issues in the council, we don't get positive responses. This means if we approve this budget today, our unpaid emoluments will not be paid again" Ms Amile stressed.
Continuous calls to order by Mr Isaac Todoko, the councilor representing Lobule Sub County were ignored by the rest of the councilors.
Ms Fikrah Stima, a youth councilor said "for today, we want a very clear statement about councilors’ unpaid emoluments and if not resolved, we are not approving any budget for the 2018/2019 financial year"
But assurances by the district Chairman Mr Hassan Nginya that their accumulated emoluments would be paid at the end of the financial year fell on deaf ears as the councilors said they were not satisfied by his statements.
"That was my promise that before the end of this FY, if councilors’ emoluments are not fulfilled, anybody can blame me” Nginya said.
The Chief Administrative Officer, Mr George Adoko said the local revenue collected so far has not been enough to effect payment of councilors”.
"Councilors’ emoluments are paid out of the local revenue collected but we have not collected it to the fullest to pay the allowances. This is the only reason why it has delayed and I'm optimistic that the council will resume soon" Mr Adoko said.
The speaker later adjourned the sitting to yet an unknown date as lobbying continues.
The ministry of Finance guidelines in Uganda allows districts to spend only 20 per cent of local revenue on council emoluments but the deadline to submit 2018/2019 district budget to the ministry is 30th May.