KAMPALA – Parliament has approved a request to have the Executive provide UGX19Bn that will be used for paying emoluments and salaries for the new staff of Parliament.
The decision by Parliament follows a recommendation in the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee that scrutinised the 2019/2020 budget for Parliament and the Commission decried the shortfalls of recurrent budget especially funding to cater for emoluments of the Legislators.
While appearing before the Committee, the Commissioners told MPs that Parliament is experiencing shortfalls in emoluments of Shs8.532Bn and salaries of UGX10.265 billion for expected new staff and MPs.
The Commission further argued that the implication to this is additional UGX422M for gratuity for the expected new MPs and pension contribution for both MPs and Staff and the Committee recommended that an additional UGX19.22Bn be provided to Parliamentary Commission to recruit additional staff, expected MPs emoluments and pension contributions.
Additionally, the committee observed that in order to strengthen the institutional capacity of Parliament, the institution’s departments require additional funds for capacity building to serve the increasing number of Members of Parliament, funds to undertake studies to enable Parliament to make informed decisions and benchmark to obtain best practices.
The Parliament Commission informed the Legal Committee that these departments have a funding gap of Shs27.3Bn in the coming financial year but the Committee recommended having the additional Shs18Bn be provided to Departments of Parliament to enhance their capacity to efficiently and effectively fulfil their respective mandates.
The planned Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference stands in jeopardy after failure by Parliament to raise Shs20Bn funds the Committee asked to be availed ahead of the 2019 conference.
Parliament is also looking for UGX20.4Bn for committees oversight with the activities having been hampered by lack of resources to facilitate them to undertake their oversight role, something that has left work stalled, leading to fewer oversight reports being presented to Parliament and or quality of reports has been compromised.
The Commissioners argued that benchmarking is critical for various pieces of legislation to inform Parliament on international practices but the activity has not been prioritized in FY2019/2020.
Parliamentary Commission had a total approved budget of Shs497.8Bn in FY2018/2019, and the budget estimates for the FY20l9/2020 for Parliamentary Commission amount to UGX561.27Bn of which UGX86.93Bn for Wage, UGX4.34 Billion for Non-wage and UGX67billion as Development budget which indicates an increase of Shs63.46Bn attributed to the increase of staff allowances by 15% and MPs allowances by 39% to cater for increased cost of living.
Additionally, contributions to autonomous institutions have also registered an increase by UGX1.7 bil1ion but since the upward revision of MPs and Staff Travel allowance rates in FY2017/2018, the budget for travel both abroad and inland have remained the same and if the status quo remains, this is likely to constrain Parliament in undertaking its core mandates of efficient and effective legislation and oversight roles.
According to the breakdown, the development budget will be allocated Shs62Bn for the ongoing works on the Construction of the new chamber to improve working environment and reduce the cost of rent for offices while UGX2.536Bn will be spent on assorted office furniture for MPs currently occupying Queen’s chamber as well as UGX1.155Bn will go to the procurement of 366 assorted machinery and ICT items for MPs and UGX1.306 billion for purchase of vehicles.