MINISTRY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS LOCAL GOVERNANCE FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The Decentralization Policy; a people-centered approach to governance; was designed to empower the people, through their elected leaders to take charge of their destiny. This empowerment was to enable the Local Governments to address bottlenecks in issues such as Health, Education, Governance, food security, revenue enhancement, Budgeting, Policy, Pension, Procurement, and Local Economic Development
One of the objectives of the decentralized policy is to bring Political and administrative control of services to the point of delivery, thereby improving accountability and effectiveness; and to promote ownership by the general population, of projects executed in their localities. This has effectively taken democracy beyond just an electoral process to empowering citizens to actively participate in the decision processes through structures specially designed to enhance accountability.
In effect, the Country has realized remarkable achievements with an upsurge in physical social investments in health, education, roads and water sectors leading to improved quality of service delivery. All these are as a result of improvement in participatory Governance at the local level.
To further augment the mandate of Local Governments, Cabinet created the Local Government sector which became operational in July 2019 to comprise the Ministry of Local Government, the Local Government Finance Commission and all Local Government Votes with the eventual objective of Improving performance and functionality of Local Governments structures and systems.
The Ministry of Local Government has remained steadfast in its commitment to supporting the implementation of the Decentralization Policy and have also shifted the scope of policy focus from administrative and service delivery mandates of Local Governments to the sixth objective of decentralization namely; emphasis on Local Economic Development, wealth creation and job creation.
With Uganda’s significant comparative advantage in Agriculture, the Ministry and the entire Local Government Sector is now fast-tracking initiatives to create local wealth through Agro-industrialization, focusing on infrastructural development, tourism, production and marketing, and skilling for Human Capital Development.
FOCUS ON LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Following Government’s adoption of the promotion of Local Economic Development as a sixth objective of the Decentralization Policy and a subsequent development of the Uganda National Local Economic Development Policy of 2014, The Ministry of Local Government created the Department of Local Economic Development to help support Local Governments to attract investments basing on their natural and strategic competencies.
This will go a long way in deepening the decentralization process, eradicating poverty and ensure inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth.
Through the LED Department, the Ministry specifically aims to:
i. Support to Local Governments to incorporate LED activities into the LG Planning and budgeting:
ii. Promote of employment and wealth creation through support to the development of new industrial/business parks to promote skilling of women and youth, production and wealth creation.
iii. Re-orient LGs from a consumptive nature into business orientation and investment through enhanced production with a view to expanding local revenue generation by LGs
iv. Support to the development of public infrastructure to boost production and market accessibility
v. Supporting intra-private sector dialogues, cooperation and networks to encourage experience sharing, and
vi. Facilitating private investments through linkages with MDAs and other regulatory bodies
vii. Creating awareness within Local Governments aimed at causing a paradigm shift from consumptive nature into business orientation and investment.
The Ministry of Local Government has provided leadership and support to various LED initiatives and this include,
• Presidential Initiative to Promote Agro-Industrialization for Local Economic Development (Agri-LED) which allows local people to identify investment opportunities in their areas with the aim of maximizing Local Economic Development. The initiative is currently piloted in the eight districts of Bundibugyo, Bunyangabo, Kabarole, Kamwenge, Kasese, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Ntoroko and the Municipalities of Kasese and Fort portal. Since the actual implementation of Agri-LED is done at the Local Government level, the main role of the Ministry of Local Government is to coordinate other MDAs to provide guidance to the Local Governments and the Private Sector during the implementation of the homegrown projects in the region.
The Ministry, in partnership with other stakeholders has already carried out a detailed feasibility study on all viable projects for incorporation into Government’s project implementation plan.
• Rwenzori Region Presidential Initiative for Zonal Industrial Parks for Skills Development, Value Addition, and Wealth creation. Support included engaging LGs to provide land for the Parks as such industrial parks have been launched in the following areas: Kayunga, Masaka, Mbarara, Gulu, Kasese, Mubende, Fort Portal, Kyenjojo, Jinja, Zombo, Lira, Mbale, Kyegegwa, Kabale, Ntoroko, Adjumani and Soroti. The launch of three zones comprising of Kampala, Masindi and Napak is still pending.
In addition to supporting Local Governments to exploit their potential in enhancing Local Economic Development; The Ministry of Local Government has also been a preferred executing agency for specific government projects and interventions, specifically designed to drive Local Economic growth in all parts of the country:
The Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement Programme (CAIIP)
The CAIIP program was implemented in phases between 2007 and 2017. The program covered agro-processing Facilities and improvement of Rural Roads and Markets in at least two thirds of the Country (90 District Local Governments). It was aligned to the second National Development Plan, the government vision of prosperity for all and the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan. also in line with the 10 year District Urban and Community Access Roads Improvement Plan whose objective is to improve accessibility to District and Community access roads.
Under the program, the Government was able to:
i) Open and/or reconstruct a total of 11,472.1Km of Community Access Roads and 808.4Km of District Feeder Roads under the rural infrastructure improvement component. The improved state of the road network has led to a reduction of travel time and the cost of transport and, improved access to social services such as health facilities, water, markets, and schools.
i) Procure and install a total of 254 assorted Agro-Processing Facilities (49 Rice hullers, 105 Maize Mills, 50 Coffee hullers and 56 Milk coolers and 37 grain mills) according to the specialties of the project district Local Governments. This intervention has significantly reduced the proportion of produce lost after harvest for major Agro products especially milk Maize, bananas, Cassava, and Rice. Moreover, with a good road network, Farmers have been able to attract competitive prices for their produce.
ii) Connect 96.2Km of National Electric Power grid to the Agro-processing Facilities to enable them to function effectively.
iii) Constructed 77 Rural Roadside markets.
THE MARKETS AND AGRICULTURAL TRADE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME (MATIP)
The MATIP program is well aligned to the National and Regional Priorities, responsive to the Government’s strategy for economic growth and poverty reduction through the enhanced commercialization of agriculture and the National Vision 2040 which seeks to have a Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country within 30 years and taking Uganda to modernity through job creation and inclusive development.
This program was designed after studies showed that most markets in the country were dilapidated. The feasibility studies also showed that majority of the people that derive their livelihoods from the markets are the women, the elderly and people with disabilities.
The first phase of the program, MATIP -1 covered the re-construction of 9 Markets in 7 urban Councils and Kampala Capital City Authority. The eight Markets in the Municipalities of Jinja, Mbale, and Fort-portal, Hoima, Gulu, Lira, Masaka, and Wandegeya in Kampala Capital City Authority are operational. Busega Market in Rubaga Division, which is the 9th is nearing completion.
The modern markets are designed with lockups, stalls, kiosks, storage facilities, salons, stalls with lockers for foodstuffs, groceries, clothes, shoes; cold rooms for fish and meat storage, fish dressing rooms; space for private service providers like microfinance institutions, health clinics, meeting halls, w and even day-care centres.
The re- development and upgrade of the Markets will be profoundly impactful to the communities within and without by:
Increasing and diversifying trade/enterprises from just trade in agricultural commodities to many other enterprises dealing in livestock drugs and associated products to other high value goods such as general merchandise and pharmaceuticals. In the completed markets under MATIP 1, agricultural produce accounts for only 53.1% of total merchandise, this volume of diversified trade has provided increased employment to vendors and suppliers in these markets. For instance, casual employment increased from 39% to 48% in the new markets. While 30% of the vendors indicated that their stock volumes have increased, 12.2% indicated that they are now selling at higher and better prices.
Increasing revenue collection by Urban Councils due to the formal organization of the markets and revenue enforcement mechanism in place. Previously, this was not possible because of the disorganized trading environment characterized by illegal vending and unregistered vendors. Revenue collection from the markets is projected to increase more due to increase in trade. Moreover, trade between Urban and Rural markets has grown substantively.
Improving working conditions in terms of drainage, sanitation, cleanliness, and hygiene. During a study of the completed markets under the first phase, 60.2% of vendors reported that the markets are very clean, 50.1% indicated that the market is safe and secure.
Improving aesthetic beauty of urban councils, improving the working conditions and sanitation in and around the markets thus guaranteeing the health of vendors and the hygiene of the trade goods. With an improvement in management of the markets and improved security, the vendors' merchandise has been secured and illegal vending of goods has substantially reduced thus increasing market access to operators inside the markets.
A study on the commissioned markets indicated that that savings by vendors have improved as indicated by 82.1% of the vendors who are able to save income from the business, 76.3% are able to reinvest the savings into the same business which is now deemed profitable, 17.9% are able to invest in other assets like land and building a house and about 31.8% have started another business/enterprises as a result of the income gains from the Markets.
THE PROJECT FOR THE RESTORATION OF LIVELIHOODS IN THE NORTHERN REGION (PRELNOR)
Currently, in its fifth year of implementation by the Ministry of Local Government, PRELNOR has made strides in increasing income, food security and reduce the vulnerability of poor rural households in the project areas of Adjumani, Agago, Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum, Lamwo, Nwoya, Omoro and Pader by supporting:
I) Food insecure households, who do not have enough land or resources to produce enough to cover their food needs;
iv) Food secure households who are still vulnerable to climatic or other shocks to their livelihoods but want to improve their agricultural productivity;
v) Market-oriented households with adequate land and some skills which they wish to use to increase their surplus production available for sale.
vi) The vulnerable households who lack the capacity and self-confidence to join community groups, to build their food security and self-reliance to enable them to join groups and benefit from development initiatives.
The project has provided 4,000 vulnerable households with food security grants through input trade fairs.
Extension staff have also been trained as Plant Doctors to aid in Plant Pests, Diseases and Mineral Deficiency Symptoms Diagnosis and Management Options.
Additionally, 2000 households have benefited from Energy Saving Cooking Stoves. In the long run, the energy-saving cook stoves will reduce the pressures exerted on the environment and thus, help mitigate the effects of climate change caused by deforestation.
Because of this initiative, many households in the project area have diversified income sources, the food security status has improved with the majority of them consuming at least two meals per day and they have ample food for over three quarters of the year. Better still, many of them have joined farmer groups through which they can access agricultural information /inputs to improve farming and get higher yields. Also, several members of vulnerable households have joined savings and credit groups through which they can save and acquire loans to meet their needs.
The Ministry of Local Government is the implementing agency/partner of several government interventions the Development Initiatives aimed at stimulating Local Economic Growth based on regional competences.
i) THE LOCAL ECONOMIC GROWTH SUPPORT PROJECT (LEGS)
The Local Economic Growth Support (LEGS) Project, is a follow-on project to the successful Second Millennium Villages Project (MVP-II) being implemented in 17 Districts across the country with the main focus on Local Economic Development with support to agricultural productivity, water supply, irrigation, and micro-finance. The project specifically contributes to five of the Sustainable Development Goals namely (i) No Poverty; (ii) Zero Hunger ;( iv) Clean Water and Sanitation; (vii) affordable and Clean Energy).
The Ministry of Local Government will continue to provide and advocate for a conducive environment, through laws, policies, guidelines, and coordination, for Government to achieve its Vision of transforming Uganda from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country by 2040 through the established structures under the Decentralized system of governance.