Public private sector partnership in Uganda’s local governments: A case study of revenue collection in Makindye Division, Kampala
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In 1993, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government adopted a decentralised system of administration. As such, decentralisation is central to Uganda’s mode of governance as spelt out in the 1995 Constitution and the 1997 Local Governments Act (LGA). This was aimed at increasing local governments’ (LGs) autonomy, widening local participation in decision making and streamlining fiscal transfer modalities to Local governments in order to increase their efficiency and effectiveness so as to achieve good governance within a transparent and accountable framework. As a result, the system underwent several reforms in order to realize the set goals. Among the many reforms was the adoption of the public-private partnership in the collection of local government revenues and the delivery of other services in lower governments under the privatization form of decentralisation. These reforms were recommended and implemented in 2001 and 2003 respectively on the assumption that public-private partnership would help to improve on the previous systems of revenue collection, improve local government revenue performance and reduce LG dependence on conditional grants from the Central Government (CG) and the donor community. The study, therefore, sought to find out how privatization had impacted on revenue collection. The study was undertaken in Makindye division, Kampala district. It involved a sample size of eighty respondents drawn from the Ministry of Local Government (MoLG), the district, the division, the parishes and the villages or zones that constitute the division. These respondents were selected using both random and non-random sampling techniques. The required data was collected using a combination of tools including: - in-depth interviews, questionnaires, observation and review of relevant documents. Qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis, while quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics that included percentages, frequencies and charts. The results showed that there were several reasons that instigated the need to privatize revenue collection. Among the many reasons was the need to control corruption and adopt a more cost effective method of revenue collection and donor influence. The results further revealed that the implementation of privatization of revenue collection followed a well-streamlined method of contracting and tendering the responsibilities where all LGs took up responsibility of overseeing and supervising the work done by private firms. Hence, the two parties work in a partnership. The findings showed that there were several pre-conditions set before the identification of the right firms to be awarded contracts. The results indicated a general improvement in LG revenue collection under the public - private sector partnership arrangement even though this was more pronounced during the initial stages of implementation. The findings further revealed challenges related to the following:- the newness of the concept of the Public - Private Sector Partnership in Makindye division, policy, administration, capacity, financial, and conflict of interest challenges. The most pressing challenges were related to political influence in form of uncoordinated political pronouncements, which eventually affect the work of the private firms and the Division in the collection of revenues. Owing to the multiplicity of challenges to the effective implementation of private sector partnerships in Makindye Division, the study made several recommendations. Among these was the need for capacity building in order to make people aware of the concept of public private sector partnerships and to have people’s attitudes changed positively towards revenue collection. There is also need to control the influence of politicians from higher levels from interfering with the work of the LGs. There is need for the CG to ensure that the divisions have more autonomy in deciding the destiny of their localities other than being dictated upon on how to operate.