The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) conducted a workshop on municipal Asset Management Action Plans (AMAPs) in Gulu, Uganda from 3 to 6 December 2019, putting 22 local governments on the path to proactive asset management.
With a generous financial contribution from the EU in the context of the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda, the workshop funded the participation of 95 local government officials from 22 districts and municipalities. Key officials from the central government participated as well.
The workshop incorporated the findings of the large scale application of the UN DESA and UNCDF diagnostic tool on municipal asset management in 20 districts and municipalities of Uganda over the course of 2019. The process was overseen by a joint committee of senior central government officials from the ministries of finance and local government. The Government of Uganda established the Committee to follow up on the outcome of the first UN AMAP workshop in Gulu in October 2018.
“More effective asset management will let citizens enjoy more dependable services without unexpected failures and indefinite interruptions,” remarked Mr. John Walala, Director Local Government Inspection, Ministry of Local Government at the opening of the workshop in Gulu, as he urged local government officials to take ownership and responsibility for government assets under their stewardship.
To ensure improved delivery of essential public services and ultimately achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), local governments have to prioritize the management of public assets, to make the most of what they already have to deliver services. Effective asset management looks at the entire lifecycle of an asset from acquisition through maintenance and disposal. But first, local governments need to know what assets they own and their condition to effectively manage and utilize them.
Prior to the training workshop, UN DESA and UNCDF supported the participating local governments to undertake an asset management profiling survey to ascertain existing asset management systems. The survey revealed most local governments lack updated registers, nor clear management systems for the existing assets. For instance out of the 20 local governments only eight had updated building registers.
“We have heard complaints from officers, and acknowledge there are inconsistencies within the various legal frameworks that we have to harmonize to streamline how assets are managed at a national level,” said Jennifer Muhuruzi Bigirwa as she discussed the draft asset management framework set to be in place July 2020, which will provide guidelines on how to operate, maintain and allocate assets.
Over four days, the participants who were grouped according to their local governments were tasked to develop asset management action plans (AMAPs) focusing on one priority asset. The groups presented their plans and received feedback from colleagues and facilitators on how to refine these plans.
“The template developed for the training was carefully designed and should be adopted by ministries and local governments and customized to develop various action plans relevant to the institution,” shares Marley Ben Lawrence Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Kole District Local Government.
Uganda is one of four countries including Tanzania, Bangladesh and Nepal being supported by UN DESA and UNCDF in the introduction of the Asset Management Action Plans.