KAMPALA – A consortium of civil society organizations under are up in arms over plans by Members of Parliament to increase their allowances.
MPs have since planned to increase their allowances by 39% and that of the parliamentary staff by 15%, citing rising costs of living.
The CSOs, under their umbrella body, the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), at Sunday’s press conference said the MPs’ decision to vary their entitlements upwards on the grounds of rising costs of leaving was selfish and insensitive to the plight of other public servants who buy groceries from the same market.
The group’s executive director, Mr Julius Mukunda, threatened to mobilise voters in various constituencies to shun and fail to vote them in the upcoming general election come 2021 if they do not reverse their decision.
“This move concerns us considering that there are other more pressing budget demands,” said Julius Mukunda, the executive director of Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG).
He added: “The National Medical Stores budget for the supply of anti-malarial medicines accredited facilities was cut from UGX10.2b to 4.7b in the Financial Years 2018/19 and 2019/20 respectively. This new resource that MPs are adding on their allowances can be used to upscale such critical sections of our budget.”
He proposes that the allowances which total up to over UGX63.4 billion be allocated to other priority sectors which are underfunded.
Currently, each of the 459 legislators earns anywhere between UGX15million to UGX30million every month, depending on how far their constituency is from Parliament Building in Kampala, the seat of their legislative business.
Uganda’s Constitution vests the power to appropriate national resources, as well as providing oversight, in Parliament.
Rhema Wetongola (NRM, Kamuli Woman MP) said: “I am not aware of the increment. I will need to look at the budget when it is presented to the House but what, I think, is being increased is the mileage because they have been giving us fuel at UGX2,600 a litre and yet the current price is over UGX4,000.”