• Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

Mbarara City Purchases UGX180M Vehicle to Boost Revenue Collection

UGANDA, MbararaReal Muloodi NewsThe Mbarara City Council has acquired a double cabin vehicle to increase local revenue collection from difficult-to-reach regions by the revenue department.

Assy Abirebe, the city town clerk, disclosed that the double cabin ranger number LG 0009 127 costs 180,982,000 million shillings from the UGX5.5 billion received in Mbarara City during the fiscal year 2021/22.

“It is out of this money [realized from local revenue during the last financial year] that we’ve bought a double cabin pick up to boost the capacity of the Mbarara City Council revenue section in the mobilization of local revenue,” Abirebe said.

“So this vehicle is purely bought from the taxpayers’ money of Mbarara City under local revenue collection. And as a city, we are happy that we have added it to among the few vehicles we have to improve services to the people of Mbarara,” he added.

Abirebe said, “we have always had a challenge of transport and often times we had to hire transport means to enable the revenue collectors, move around the city. So we are glad that we have been able to procure a vehicle for the revenue section and of course for other services within the city council.”

He says that the city has been frequently shelling out UGX200,000 per day to transport revenue collectors out in the field.

“Time and again we have been spending 200,000 shillings per day on hiring vehicles and sometimes we would use our vehicles but sometimes I was actually releasing my own official car to the revenue department but now that this vehicle is available, we shall not be incurring any other expenses,” Abirebe explained.

Abirebe claims that Mbarara City Council is now set to earn UGX9 billion from local taxes after acquiring a double cabin.

“Now that we’ve got this vehicle our budget estimates for local revenue is 9 billion and we hope that with now this additional reinforcement we are going to achieve our target,” Abirebe said.

According to Abirebe, the council has also spent one billion to order a grader to aid in the maintenance of the city’s roads.

“And of course we have also planned to buy a grader. The procurement process has been concluded and it is going to cost us one billing shillings also from the local revenue. And I believe we are one of the few local governments in Uganda that can save local revenue money to procure a motor grader and a vehicle,” Abirebe said.

According to the city clerk, in addition to the purchase of the motor grader, the remaining local money was utilised to build a classroom block at Biharwe Moslem’s P/S in North Division, fence Kenkombe land and make minor improvements, and supply three twin desks in chosen primary schools.

Improving Mbarara City’s road network was recently voted the top service priority by Mbarara property owners, according to a series of civic engagement activities that spanned March through June 2022, designed to gather property owners’ views on the state of services in the City.

The exercise to engage property owners was undertaken by RippleNami Uganda, with support from USAID, as part of the Domestic Revenue Mobilization for Development (DRM4D) project, as property rates are the biggest single revenue earner for the city.

The activities, under the campaign slogan “Services and Fair Tax for Property Owners”, aim to improve the state of services in Mbarara City, by educating and advocating for greater tax compliance in regard to property rates, while calling for accountability from City leadership that the revenues generated will contribute to the provision of valued public goods and services.

The civic engagement activities included consultations with 746 stakeholders from 187 villages, to include LC1 Chairmen, youth representatives as well as both male and female elders, surveys of both prominent and randomly selected property owners, a series of focus group discussions, and a major civic engagement meeting designed to solicit feedback on owners’ understanding of property rates, and their perceptions about local service delivery.

Consistently among all groups that participated, the top three service priority areas were improving Mbarara City’s road network, health services, and water and sanitation, with education following closely in fourth place.

The citizens’ demands for services in the city were documented into a project report that RippleNami Uganda handed over to ​​Mbarara City officials on August 11, 2022.

Abirebe explains, “As Mbarara City, we don’t use local revenue for purposes of allowances as people may think but we give back to the people who pay us taxes. For example we constructed a two classroom block at Biharwe Moslem P/S, and will be undertaking maintenance of the road network in Mbarara City especially those that are under the divisions because for them they don’t receive road fund.”

Mbarara City Mayor, Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi declared that Mbarara is among the first cities to generate over UGX5 billion in local revenue collection.

“We had collected 5.5 billion, but now I am hopeful that since they have got a vehicle it will increase to 9 billion. Out of the local revenue funds we are also going to buy a new brand grader by the end of this month and this grader will be working on all the roads,” Kakyebezi said.

He adds that the city has a revenue mechanism in place to ensure that every money received is used for service delivery.

The Ministry of Health, according to Kakyebezi, has provided one ambulance to Mbarara City Health Centre IV to handle emergency responses in the city.

“I want to thank the ministry of health for donating an ambulance to our health Centre IV that will be helping everybody in the city to transport patients,” Kakyebezi noted.

The mayor warned drivers to take excellent care of the city-purchased vehicles so that they can serve their primary purpose.

“Much as we are the custodians of these vehicles, they belong to the government and what I want is to see them being handled well. The challenge we have been getting is that if someone receives a vehicle, mishandles it and you find a vehicle which we have bought more than 100 mln is in bad condition but now a driver who handles it badly, will face an exit,” said Kakyebezi.


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