Yesterday government tabled a bill in Parliament seeking to create 39 new counties in the country.
Over time there have been arguments for and against the creation of new counties, with proponents saying the move leads to qualitative and quantitative service delivery and, jobs. To a certain extent this may be true. However, those opposed to the creation of new counties say the move creates a huge constraint on the resource purse of the country. This is also true. Given such a scenario therefore, it is better to approach the creation of new counties on the side of balanced-caution.
Already, Uganda has over 100 counties, and all these have a Member of Parliament, either a man or woman. At the lower level, there are councilors representing different LCIII establishments across the country. All these need to be paid, both salaries and allowances. There is also the issue of non-political staff working at the counties; they also need to be paid.
It is no secret that service delivery goes hand-in-hand with infrastructural development. But if one scrutinizes the new counties, almost all of them have poor infrastructure, meaning it will still remain problematic to have effective service delivery at the new counties yet government will be spending hugely on maintaining a workforce that is almost bordering on redundancy. This goes against the principles of value-for-money spending.
Indeed, at this time government should be more preoccupied with gravelling most rural roads and setting up more schools and health centres, as this will inadvertently improve access to services.
As a country, if we are to realize our goals, we should pursue our priorities in line with what is reasonable and available.