Lamwo district councilors are protesting the unexplained reduction of their sitting allowances and emoluments. The matter took center stage during the council session held on Wednesday.
The councilors demanded the payment of Shillings 400,000 as a sitting allowance for the previous three council sittings and two committee meetings. The district speaker, James Ochola, said that the council approved an allowance of Shillings 400,000 for each councilor per council and committee sitting.
He however said that to their dismay, they received Shillings 400,000 for five sittings. According to Ochola, both the clerk to the council and Chief Administrative Officer indicate that they paid the councilors Shillings 126,000 per sitting due to limited funds.
Florence Atii, the workers female representative says that ever since they started their tenure in May this year, they have already attended three council sittings and two committees without payment. She explains that the Shillings 400,000 paid out is inadequate to meet their personal needs and facilitate them to execute council business and mandate within their consistencies.
But the Chief Administrative Officer, Felix Alex Majeme says that they could not pay the councilors the proposed allowances due to the dwindling local revenue collection and the huge council. He also says that the Shillings 400,000 payment for the five sittings is within the law, adding that they utilized more than the stipulated 20 percent of the total local revenue collection in the previous financial year.
According to Majeme, the council had projected to raise more than Shillings 200 million in the 2020/2021 financial year, but only realized Shillings 108million, which can’t adequately facilitate the council business.
He pledged to increase the allowances once the local revenue collection improves. Lamwo LCV vice chairperson, Mathew Okoya Akera reiterates that 20 percent of the collected local revenue collection amounts to Shillings 54million, which he says is inadequate to facilitate the council.
According to Akera, they would need around Shillings 160million to pay the councilors the proposed Shillings 400,000 as a sitting allowance.
Vincent Ouma, the Male Workers representative blamed the dwindling local revenue collection on the reluctance of the technical to explore other local revenue sources, poor enforcement, and some staff who spend revenue at the source.
The councilors now want the district executive and Chief Administrative Officer to write to the Local government ministry seeking permission to spend over the 20 percent local revenue to facilitate payment of their wages and allowances.