Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has said it is cash-strapped and may not be able to pay for critical services like garbage collection and street lighting.
In a letter dated January 2, addressed to Beti Kamya, the Kampala minister, Jennifer Musisi, the authority’s executive director, warned that due to budget cuts, they are unable to pay Umeme, the power distributor, Shs 730 million.
“We have concluded that the procurement of suppliers of solar lights for the CBD [Central Business District] and some selected roads in the city and signing of the contract is pending release of funds from government. In addition, electricity bills of Shs 739.8 million remain unpaid and Umeme has notified us of their intention to disconnect our office premises and street lights in the city,” Musisi’s 10-page letter reads in part.
Regarding garbage collection, Musisi writes that due to a shortfall in collecting taxes, the authority has challenges in meeting costs for waste management. In this financial year, KCCA’s approved budget was Shs 536.8 billion. This comprised Shs 150.34 billion from government, Shs 280.8 billion from the World Bank, Shs 20 billion from the Uganda Road Fund and Shs 112 billion from tax revenue.
But Musisi says in her letter that government has so far released only Shs 77.3 billion of its share while other partners are also yet to fulfil their promises. In a stormy authority meeting yesterday, councillors blamed government for slashing the city budget.
Musisi said that because of the shortfall in funding, KCCA has not remitted Pay As You Earn (PAYE) worth Shs 9 billion for its staff. Other unfunded critical activities include road projects and constructing drainage systems.
Those affected by the budget cuts include; former owners of Usafi market, who are still demanding an outstanding balance of Shs 15.46 billion. There is also the matter of the salary arrears of the former deputy lord mayor Sulaiman Kidandala who is reportedly demanding Shs 535 million and Shs 977 million demanded by the Buganda Land Board (BLB).
Meanwhile, the authority meeting failed to discuss the salary arrears owed to Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago because by the time this item was presented, Musisi had moved out.
Instead, Lukwago circulated a letter he wrote on January 4 to Musisi in response to the one written by Kamya. In her letter, Kamya instructed Musisi not to pay Lukwago’s arrears until the legal process surrounding his impeachment in 2013 is concluded. Lukwago is demanding at least Shs 650 million in arrears between November 2013 and May 2016.
In his letter, which he tabled in the meeting yesterday, Lukwago notes: “The interlocutory matters that went to the Court of Appeal and Supreme court are only related to temporary stay of execution pending appeal but did not in any way override or set aside the decision of Justice Lydia Mugambe [that nullified the lord mayor’s impeachment]. Even the interim order of stay issued by Justice [Steven] Kavuma way back in April 2014 lapsed with time…”