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Uganda’s President Museveni Urged To Stop MPs From Increasing Their Allowances

President Yoweri Museveni has been urged to stop legislators from allocating extra sh193b for their allowances in the coming financial year.

“The role of the executive, legislature and judiciary is to check each other. Now that we can see that Parliament has become greedy, unruly and cannot check itself then someone also can check it,” Dr Arthur Bainomugisha, the executive director of Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, said on Saturday June 11.

Bainomugisha made the remarks while featuring on a weekly Urban TV morning two-hour talk-show, Press Wall hosted by Umaru Kashaka which discussed the June 7 state of the nation address in which President Museveni announced a breakthrough in Uganda’s quest for a middle-income status.

It also discussed the 2022/23 budget that comes at a time when the economy is still trying to gain its footing after nearly two years of lockdown aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

“At this point Parliament must be brought to order. To increase their own pay when the economy is in crisis is not patriotism. They cheated the citizens because when it comes to the MPs’ salaries and allowances party lines disappear; they all keep quiet about it and they give themselves money,” Bainomugisha said.

“I think there is a need to take away the power of MPs to allocate themselves money because all human beings are essentially selfish. We are inherently selfish in that we need checks and balances,” he added.

Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, the former Presidential candidate on an independent ticket, echoed Bainomugisha’s views on the show, describing MPs behaviour as unethical.

“In the situation we are in where we are telling Ugandans to tighten their belts you cannot start increasing allowances. It is immoral. Remember we have over 500 MPs and all of them travel Business Class and Business Class tickets are very expensive,” Baryamureeba, who is also the former Makerere University Vice Chancellor, noted.

He urged MPs to take a leaf from the late former Tanzanian President John Magufuli and start flying Economy Class.

“Let them travel Economy Class and we shall save that money (for buying Business Class tickets) for other things. They should also tighten their belts. For me the only person who can stop this (allocation) is the revolutionary President Yoweri Museveni,” Baryamureeba stated.

“I don’t want to talk about small things like people buying very expensive cars and asking for houses but this (sh193b) is a lot. It is unethical to increase allowances,” he added.

The director for communications and public affairs at Parliament, Chris Obore, told the media on June 10 that the sh193b increment was informed by the enormous financial pressure the MPs are facing.

Currently, each MP in Uganda is entitled to a consolidated pay of sh25m or more (subject to income tax), a one-off car grant of sh200m, monthly gratuity of sh950, 000, which is also taxed and town run allowance of about sh1m.

They are also entitled to a wardrobe grant of about sh50m or less depending on individual needs, a sh2.6m iPad, medical insurance cover of about sh5.5 per year (about sh458, 333m per month) paid to a service provider of their choice and a furnished office.

Under the consolidated pay of sh25m or more, each MP receives mileage facilitation of sh4.5m depending on how far the constituency is from Kampala, constituency facilitation of sh3.2m and a basic monthly salary of sh11.68m, which is taxed to a net pay of sh6.129m.

The MPs also receive a subsistence allowance (lunch, tea, etc.) of about sh4.5m, committee sitting allowances of sh50, 000 for an ordinary MP and social security benefits of sh9m per month — (government contributes sh6m and each MP pays sh3m) to the Parliamentary Pension Fund.

Whenever an MP travels abroad for benchmarking or on official duty he or she gets $720 per day (sh2, 597m) and for inland upcountry trips, each gets sh400, 000 per night/day.

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