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Parliament Seeks Extra 125bn For Salaries, Travel Costs Amid Accountability Concerns

Speaker Anita Among

The Parliamentary Commission has requested for additional funding to run affairs in Uganda’s legislature amid accountability concerns from Ugandans.

In the Financial Year 2024/25 budget, the Parliamentary Commission is seeking for additional Shs125 billion for the payment of salaries, travel costs and per diem for Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Leader of Opposition and MPs in order to enable them attend all the local and international events they are invited to, and also enable them to locally conduct oversight roles in Committees.

The details are contained in the report for the 2024/25 ministerial policy statement for the Parliamentary Commission that was presented by Robina Rwakoojo, Chairperson Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, that indicated that Parliament’s budget had been reduced by Shs78.698 billion by the Ministry of Finance.

This budget cut was rejected by the Committee, recommending that the Ministry of Finance restores Parliament’s budget to the current operating level in order not to stifle operations at Parliament.

There is currently a shortfall in operational expenses in the Offices of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Parliamentary Commission Secretariat, Government Chief Whip, and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.

This shortfall arose from increasing invitations locally and internationally requiring official engagements and participation of these offices. The budget shortfall for these offices amounts to Shs37.685 billion.

The Committee recommends that additional Shs37.685 billion be provided on the Commission non-wage recurrent budget to cater for the operational shortfall, read in part the report.

 

Recently, Speaker Among protested what she termed 50 percent budget cuts to the Parliamentary Commission, a decision that put Ramathan Ggoobi, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Secretary to the Treasury into a firing line.

Parliament also hinged on Article 79 of the Constitution that gives the institution powers to carry out oversight, legislation and representation functions to demand for extra UGX 82.272 billion meant to fulfill the mandate.

This if not addressed, will impede timely and responsive oversight, legislation and representation function. The Committee therefore recommends an additional amount of UGX 82.272 billion to cater for the recurrent shortfall, added the report.

The Parliamentary Commission also requested for additional UGX 3.747 billion to cater for staff wage shortfall. This according to the Committee will go to staff allowances, National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and pension contributions.

The Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee also recommended the provision of UGX 1.606 billion to enable the Commission to make its annual contribution to the East African Community in Arusha for the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), after no funds were allocated for this item.

According to documents provided to the Committee, the budget for the Parliamentary Commission is estimated to reduce to Shs866.856 billion in 2024/25 from Shs945.555 billion in the current financial year.

Parliament and Speaker Anita Among have in recent weeks received criticism over ‘reckless’ spending of taxpayers’ money. The Service Awards of Shs500 million to former Leader of Opposition (LOP), Mathias Mpuuga and Shs400 million to three backbench Commissioners, irked Ugandans especially those on social media continue.

Activists led by Cartoonist and Makerere University Lecturer, Dr Spire Sentongo and Journalist/Lawyer Agatha Atuhaire run a social media exhibition that has unearthed the alleged rot in Parliament’s expenditure.

 

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