Country Director’s remarks at launch of the Local Government Development Planning Guidelines

29 Apr 2014

The Rt. Hon Prime Minister of Uganda
Hon. Minister of Finance, Planning &Economic Development
Hon. Minister of Local Government
The Acting Chairman National Planning Authority
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance, Planning & Economic Development
The Acting Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government
The Executive Director National Planning Authority
Representative from Government Ministries in your respective capacities
Fellow Development Partners present
District & Municipal Planners
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

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Today we mark the launch of the Local Government Development Planning Guidelines which have been developed in partnership with United Nations Development Programme through the project on Strengthening Institutional Framework for Service Delivery being implemented by the Ministry of Local Government and National Planning Authority. The guidelines are intended to strengthen the legal and institutional planning framework underpinning the local government development planning processes and link these to the overall National Development strategic plan as well as the sector development goals.

At the outset, let me state that UNDP is proud to be a partner in local governance, one of the many ways we have been able to contribute in empowering the lives of the people of Uganda and building resilience.

In recent years, UNDP has been proud to be a partner in developing the legal and institutional frameworks and guidelines for decentralisation; development of the Local Government Sector Strategic Plan 2013-2023(LGSSP); the completion of the Decentralisation Policy Strategic Framework (DPSF); establishment of the Public-Private partnership (PPP) for local government among other initiatives.

Without doubt, proper development planning by local governments is an enabler of poverty reduction, economic growth, and overall human and sustainable development of this country.

The Local Government Development Planning Guidelines being launched today is one of several initiatives we have partnered with Government, to address some of the gaps that impede the delivery of vital socio-economic services. These gaps were identified through the different Joint Annual Review of Decentralisation held over the years, and showed inconsistencies in planning frameworks and a lack of linkage between the National Planning and budgeting; as well as the Local Government Planning and budgeting.

In formulating the guidelines, a number of analytical studies were done to inform the process. These include:
i. The study on the inconsistencies in the NPA Act, Budget Act and the Local Government Act and recommendations on entry points for coherence;
ii. The study on Local Government Set up and administrative Structure;
iii. The study on Inconsistencies and Best Practices in Service Delivery and Programme Management.

It is my hope that the guidelines will provide an adequate framework to harmonise decentralised plans within local governments in Uganda and also link directly to the national level planning and budgeting as provided for under Articles 125, 176, and 190 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda (1995) and the Local Government Act CAP 243 Sections 35, 36, 96, and 97.

We also expect that the new guidelines will nurture the cross cutting issues. Eight of which have been prioritised, namely: Gender, Environment, Human rights, disability, nutrition, governance, population and development, science and innovation, child health, social protection, climate change, HIV and culture change and mind set.

There are many other benefits to these guidelines but let me highlight a few other critical ones. We expect to see improved coordination in the selection and programming of development activities within the district and amongst different departments within local governments; and between the local government departments and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Faith Based Organisations (FBOs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs), Development Partners (DPs) and Private Sector Organisations (PSOs). The guidelines will also facilitate planning for inter-jurisdictional programmes and services (i.e. programmes and services between two or more local governments).

Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe, now is a good time to put these new guidelines to the test. As am sure you are aware, consultations for Phase two of the National Development Plan are underway while the annual planning and budgeting process is also ongoing.

I therefore urge all stakeholders to utilise the guidelines fully and maximise their benefits in directing coherent planning and budgeting. If put to good use, I believe the guidelines will contribute immensely to realising Vision 2040.

As I conclude, let me thank the team that has worked tirelessly to put the guidelines together - under the leadership of the National Planning Authority and the Ministry of Local Government. Committed leadership is critical for achieving progress and sustainable development.

I take this opportunity to also thank each and every one of you that has made contributions in one way or another to enable the successful completion of the guidelines.

UNDP commits to continue supporting efforts that enhance delivery of accountable and inclusive social and economic services at the Local Government levels.

Thank you for your attention.