Leaders Reignite Call For Elevation of Paidha To Municipal Status

Okoro County Member of Parliament Gabriel Okumu

By Mike Rwothomio

West Nile: Leaders in Zombo have once again reignited their plea for the elevation of Paidha Town Council to a municipal status.

These say Zombo is where the National Resistance Movement government had a strong footing for years as a result of massive support and that awarding Paidha town a municipal status will be more of giving back to the people for this all-hearted love and support.

Gabriel Okumu the Member of Parliament  for Okoro County said the town population and other factors qualify it for a municipal status adding that if elevated, the area will benefit from increased investments
“Paidha has been requesting for a Municipality for over 20 years and we are not sitting down as leaders. We continue to call upon the government to consider that. We believe that it Will come with lots of investments and opportunity for our people,” Okumu told this Publication.

The State Minister for Northern Uganda, Grace Freedom Kwiocwiny who is also the former Zombo Woman MP said the leaders should continue putting their demands in one voice whilst undertaking crucial developmental activities.

“We should continue appealing for municipal status from the government with one voice but let’s continue carrying out various developmental activities. Let the municipality come and get us moving forward” the minister told hundreds at Paidha Town Council Cultural Center.

The State Minister of Northern Uganda Grace Freedom Kwiocwiny inspects a section of Paidha Market recently

Paidha Town Council, just a few kilometres away from the Democratic Republic of Congo has a population of over 40,000 people. Recently, 30 new lockups were commissioned at the market and leaders have appealed for the construction of the whole market. It’s projected that if the whole market is completed, it will alone generate a local revenue of nearly Ugx 4 billion.

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The Revenue Base of the Town

Through the Integrated Revenue Administration System (IRAS) which is an online and mobile application platform to enable local governments and cities to collect revenue through registration, assessment, billing, payment awareness raising for taxpayers, and connecting residents to local governments, The town local revenue was able to increase from Ugx  407 million in 2021 to Ugx 572 in 2022 according to Zombo chief finance Officer Eddy Kalonzo.

Paidha Central Market established in the 1950s is the biggest revenue base for the District. On average The Market alone generates annual revenue of over Ugx 200 million.

Speaking during the recent commissioning of a section of the newly constructed Paidha Central Market, The Commissioner for Local and Economic Development Anthony Namara promised to take the plea up to the relevant Authorities.

“After moving all over the area, I have witnessed great potential here, technically, I think you qualify for municipal status but you know that currently, the government has suspended the creation of new administrative units, but I will take it up to my bosses”. Namara promised.

Prerequisites for the creation of a municipality include having the capacity to meet the cost of service delivery and office accommodation, the existence of a physical development plan for land use, reliable water sources and a reasonable financial base. Others are the availability of social services, land for effective planning and expansion and a minimum of 100,000 inhabitants according to the local government act.

It is worth noting that municipalities benefit from investments in new roads, markets, electricity with street lighting inclusive, piped water, and sanitation amongst others. Other programmes like the World Bank/IDA funded Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructural Development (USMID) project.

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