26 February 2002

Uganda: 'Decentralization Better Than Federo'

Minister of Health Brig. Jim Muhwezi has said introducing a federal system of governance in Uganda would destroy the good foundation already laid by decentralization.

Muhwezi, who was addressing a visiting delegation from Malawi yesterday, said decentralization has proven to be more effective than federalization, which the Baganda are still advocating.

"That is why a federal system failed, because decentralization takes the services to the last man, yet federo would pull back the resources from the grassroots," Muhwezi said in his office at the ministry.

The Malawi delegation led by the Minister of Health and Population Yusuf Mwawa is in Uganda for three days to study the country's decentralization success especially in health service delivery.

Mwawa said Malawi had studied decentralization policies in different African countries, but found Uganda's model the best.

Muhwezi said already 65% of the Graduated tax collections in Uganda goes to the districts. He also said government is now planning to decentralize even further to sub-county level.

The Director General of Health Services Prof. Francis Omaswa said so far, there are eleven referral hospitals countrywide serving the districts, but disclosed plans for government to decentralize hospitals to districts.

Malawi's six-man delegation will also visit the ministry of Local Government and other crucial planning departments in the decentralization process.

Copyright 2002 Monitor Publications Ltd.

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