Concerns as Gulu District shuns inviting NGOs for the 2023 annual budget conference

However, during the budget conference, only three non-governmental organizations out of over 150 NGOs working in Gulu District attended.

By Christopher Nyeko

Gulu: The political wing of the Gulu district local government expressed their dissatisfaction with Gulu district planner Mr. Omal David Livingston over his failure to formally invite development partners in Gulu District for the 2024–2025 annual budget conference.

The politicians described the vice as being disorganized.

Councilors raised a lot of concerns and queries, demanding explanations from the district planner to clarify why none of the development partners working in Gulu district were formally invited to the district budget conference.

Aciro Teddy Luwar, the female councilor representing PWDs, says a number of development partners who are implementing several activities targeting special interest groups were supposed to attend the conference so that leaders were made aware of their presence and operation area in the district.

Balington Olweny Pa Ongwech, the male councilor V representing the people of Bungatira sub-county, wondered why people such as RDC were not even attending the budget conference yet their cardinal mandate is to monitor government programs in the district.

Balington also criticized the manner in which the Gulu district LCV, Mr. Opiyo Christopher Ateker, and the district Chief Administrative Officer all excused themselves and abandoned the budget conference to attend the commissioning of the classroom building and latrine constructed under the NUDIL program at Awach Central High School in Gulu district headquarters.

He says the budget conference is a very important activity that requires both the CAO and LCV to attend in person and should not collide with any other activity.

Hon. Mwaka Samuel Obuga, the male councilor representing the people of Patiko sub-county, says he expected to hear performance reports from all 13 departments, but only three were invited to give their presentations.

However, during the budget conference, only three non-governmental organizations out of over 150 NGOs working in Gulu District attended.

However, only three were able to make presentations and they include AID Africa, the Child Fund, and TASO.

Okello Isaac Lamunu, the program coordinator for AID Africa, only gave a brief presentation on the water project they are implementing in Gulu district.

Okello made a disclaimer saying he cannot make a comprehensive report because he got a short notice from the radio announcement about the budget conference and he wasn’t able to get everything at his fingertip.

Other presenters were Child Fund, which is implementing projects on poverty alleviation and child education in Gulu District under their program dubbed Acholi Child and Family Program.

Gift Atuku, the center coordinator for TASO Gulu, says she was surprised after learning that Gulu district was undergoing a budget conference at the time. She only came to the district office to deliver an invitation letter about the TASO marathon scheduled for the end of this month.

Atuku, who represented TASO, was tasked with making a presentation as dictated by the order paper; however, she agreed to only provide the office of the district planner with a soft copy of their presentations pertaining to activities being implemented by TASO in Gulu district by next week.

The departments that also made presentations from the Gulu district local government were the departments of work and technical services, education, and finance.

However, Omal David Livingston, the Gulu district planner, says his office has been struggling to get funds to facilitate the budget conference, adding that their request for money is still pending.

He also noted that some of the departments have been doing their conferences regularly, so there was no need for invites to avoid wasting time.

The planner reveals that he is hurrying so that he catches up with the date line for submission of the district budget, which is November 16, 2023.

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