Budget Tracking & Analysis for WASH in Lira & Kabarole Districts

Budget Tracking & Analysis for WASH in Lira & Kabarole Districts

Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services are critical in ensuring people enjoy a good standard of living and that their rights are fulfilled. Despite the Government of Uganda (GoU) effort the WHO/UNICEF joint monitoring report 2021 reports that 20 million people in Uganda do not have access to a basic water source, 34 million people do not have access to basic sanitation services and 33 million people cannot practice good hygiene.

The Kabarole Research Centre with funding from WaterAid undertook a budget and expenditure analysis study in Lira and Kabarole districts to get a better understanding of how these macro financial trends work out at district level. The study specifically sought to understand the financial flows, the district budget and expenditure on different rural water activities and analyze changes in the size of budgets for a period of FY2020/21 – 2022/23.

The key findings from the survey indicated that the Government of Uganda continues to make investment into the sector although this funding has stagnated over the last many years. At a district level, the study findings show that local governments continue to grapple with reduced funding from the center which has affected their service delivery levels. This reduction has been met with a similar trend especially with the off-budget support from the Non-Governmental Organizations which have equally reduced their
funding to the districts, in some instances beyond 40% in a given financial year.

The Non-Governmental Organizations have committed most of their resources to Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) which account for an average of 60% of their investment in the districts followed by direct support and capital maintenance for the WASH infrastructure.

The study also established that despite the funding and in some cases reduced funding, districts still grapple with full absorption of the released funds. This continues to undermine service delivery. For instance, at the National level, over UGX 208.12BN of the development donor was unspent over a period, a trend that had been on-going even in the previous years. It can therefore be argued that poor WASH service delivery in the districts is not largely explainable by inadequate funding but low absorption capacities in the districts, among others. This also explains why NGOs have now resorted to project
support to the districts

The study also established that within the two districts under review, there has been a noticeable reduction in the locally generated revenues. This is because the establishment of new administrative units from these districts affected the most productive parts of the mother districts and hence, reduced local revenues, which has incapacitated the ability of these districts to effectively plan for WASH services.

The analysis of funds transferred to these districts indicates that districts commit very little amounts to community-based engagements which are aimed at education, awareness creation and mobilizing community action towards WASH especially sanitation and hygiene.

The study concluded that current WASH investment in Uganda is lower than what is required according to the target budget allocation and expenditure levels under the NDP III aimed at realizing the targets there under to grow and develop the human capital of the Country. The key limitation to this study was the inconsistencies of the data at the district and ministry levels. Relatedly, a lot of data that would have informed this study was not available and some which was, the custodians were not willing to share it to
enrich this study. This was, however, harmonized using the data from the planning unit at the district level and expenditures from the Ministry of Water and Environment sector Performance Review Reports for the period 2020- 2023 as well as the Budget framework papers for the years under review

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