Legislators on the Parliamentary Committee on Budget have rejected government’s request to increase salaries of cultural leaders.
Earlier on, government had proposed to increase cultural leaders’ salaries from Shs5million to Shs10million.
Richard Othieno, the West Budama North representative said cultural leaders are not government employees who need a salary increase.
“We are not going to start giving people salaries as if they are now government workers. Cultural leaders are supposed to be paid by their subordinates not government. The allowances they get are enough,” said Othieno.
He was supported by Cecilia Ogwal, the Dokolo District Woman MP who asked government to first settle issues of boundaries in some kingdoms as well as conflicts in Lango which has two chiefs.
“Now as we speak, Ministry of Gender has not given us any guidelines on some conflicting kingdoms or chiefdoms for – example the Lango have two paramount chiefs and two cabinets, we cannot waste money on disorganised chiefdoms like this,” said Ogwal.
The rejection of the proposal comes three weeks after they increased their allowances by 39 per cent and that of Parliamentary staff by 15 per cent. MPs urged that the cost of living has increased. Currently, each of the 459 legislators earns between Shs15m to Shs30m every month, depending on how far the constituency is from Parliament.
The new allowances increased the House’s budget from Shs497.8bn to Shs561.3bn.
However, the move to increase their salaries was condemned by President Museveni who blamed them for depleting the state coffers.
“MPs should stop asking for salary increment. Let us work on our national priorities first,” he said.