Uganda: Politicians, Technocrats Fight Over Source of Nile Funding

image Photo: Daily Monitor

Tourist site. Tourists take a boat ride at the Source of River Nile early this year.

Jinja — Disagreements have cropped up among Jinja Central Division and municipality political and technical wings over the source of funding for the Shs50m meant for the beautification of Source of the Nile tourist site.

The Central Division and the municipality leadership approved the money in the 2017/2018 financial year budget, but the technical wing, led by the municipality Town Clerk, Mr Francis Byabambi, insists the money should be realised from locally generated revenue.

The authorities intend to put up a magnificent gate and shades at the entrance as well as repair the road leading to the international tourism site.

Politicians led by the Central Division chairperson, Mr Mubaraka Kirunda, are vehemently opposed to the move, saying a number of private companies had undertaken to sponsor the beautification project.

"We had a technical meeting with my boss, the Town Clerk at the council and we resolved that the Central Division earmarks Shs25m in this budget so that we embark on improving the Source of the Nile to make it attractive so as to realise more revenue. We have included it in this year's budget. We, therefore, need your support," Mr Abubaker Kirunda, the senior assistant Town Clerk in charge of Central Division, said.

The politicians, however, argue that it's unfair to spend the tax payers' money on the beautification of the Source of the Nile when companies have offered to do it at no cost.

"What is wrong with technical people? Companies had offered Shs2.5billion to put up modern structures at the Source to be allowed to advertise their products there but you (technocrats) frustrated them. You want to waste the little tax payers' money that would otherwise go to garbage collection. We really cannot allow this," Mr Joseph Kintu, the Councillor for Old Boma parish at Central Division, said.

The politicians agreed to pass this money in the budget on Friday but pending a conclusion on securing of companies to do this work.

During the budget meeting, the entrance fee to the Source of the Nile was increased from Shs1,000 to 2,000 for students, Shs5,000 for adults and $10 for foreigners.

Council anticipates to collect Shs1b revenue annually from the Source of the Nile from the Shs500m it has been collecting.

Hot spot

Jinja is often referred to as the adventure capital of East Africa. This former industrial capital of Uganda is now a common destination for tourists from across the globe that come simply to adventure. At the center stage of almost all the adventures in Jinja is the River Nile.

Authors: All Africa

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