Tea, water, cakes and samosas to cost Shs1.1 billion

Local government and national economy closely follow in third and forth positions with a budget of Shs993m and Shs966m, respectively.

Local government has Shs57m to spend on refreshments and national economy has Shs55m. For travel, they have Shs776m and Shs754m, respectively.

The business committee is the less lucrative, with only Shs288m and over 75 per cent of it, Shs221m will be spent on travelling and Shs10m will be for sitting allowances.

The small allocation for the committee could be because unlike other committees that regularly meet to conduct business, the business committee, which is composed of the Speaker and her Deputy, the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition, the chief opposition whip and other party whips only meets to arrange the business of each Parliamentary meeting and the order in which it shall be taken.

Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda executive director Cissy Kagaba condemned the budget as quite unfortunate, the expenditure of especially more than half of the budget on travels and monies being spent on allowances and refreshments saying it shows that the legislators are “simply selfish.”
“I think our priorities are misplaced as a country. If you look at what that money could do as a country. They will say they are travelling to benchmark but do we see the value out of those travels?

“Year in year out, the performance of Parliament is low. There is a lot of absenteeism because most of them choose to travel instead of being in the House. But how do you quantify the amount of money spent on travels and how does it relate to the common man?” she asked.

However, explaining why Members of Parliament travel, Mr Obore said Parliament work is both within and outside Parliament therefore members have to travel for especially oversight.
“We have several embassies which PAC, for instance, must visit because they use public funds. There are also organisations that interact with Uganda as a country and therefore Parliament is one of the institutions that must interact with other countries or organisations on behalf of the citizens.

“Comparatively, Parliament spends less on foreign travel than other arms of government. The media should interest itself in bringing up that comparison,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to a source familiar with the document, the Parliament leadership is still grappling with how to best dispatch around Shs6b meant for MPs’ meals after committees.

The administration, he said, is torn between passing on food coupons to committee clerks to give to MPs after committee meetings or to put a book at the canteen for MPs to sign before picking food.

Campaign budget

A quick comparison with the travel figures the different arms of government submitted to Parliament at budgeting showed that Parliament comes only second to State House in travel abroad allocation.
While as State House has Shs20b, the judiciary, together with all agencies under it, has Shs2b, President’s office Shs945m and Office of the Prime Minister Shs2b.


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