Anger in Uganda as MPs to get new vehicles to visit constituencies
17 August 2016, 19:10
Nairobi - There is considerable anger in Uganda over a plan by the government to pay MPs upto Ush 150 million each to buy new vehicles.
By October, The New Vision reports, each of the 427 MPs will pocket the cash to buy luxury vehicles to travel to their constituencies, a venture that will cost the taxpayer a minimum of Ush 64 billion.
Making the announcement, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said Tuesday that the amount would enable legislators be able to conduct the business of serving their constituents more efficiently.
The New Vision further reported that Finance minister Matia Kasaija last week told the Parliamentary finance committee that they had delayed to release money for the MPs' cars because they had financial constraints.
The Daily Monitor in its own report, stated that the the issue of the car grant had put Parliament at loggerheads with the Executive after it emerged that the Ministry of Finance excluded the Ush 64 billion for the MPs’ vehicles in the 2015/16 Budget on grounds that the Parliamentary Commission had “overshot” its budget ceiling.
The Finance ministry had also proposed that MPs get the Ush150m car grant in shifts, with priority given to newly elected MPs, a proposal that was not agreeable to the Parliamentary Commission.
Asked how money for the MPs’ car grant was mobilised, Mr Chris Obore, the Parliament’s Director of Communication and Public Affairs, said Parliament reached out to President Museveni, who in turn directed the Finance Ministry to mobilise money to bankroll the venture.
The issue has raised concern amongst activists over the matter, with critics pointing to the country's economic crisis as reason not to rubber-stamp the payments.
However, political analysts believe the move, despite the current economic climate is a ploy by Museveni to keep MPs happy as he waits on a bill which will essentially ensure he rules Uganda for life.
In a report in June 2016, the World Bank stated that Uganda's economy has stagnated due to a number of reasons, including the recent General Elections and other global factors. It is expected that the economy will grow at a rate of 4.5% in 2016.