Three civil society organizations in the Kigezi sub region have threatened to mobilize voters in the region to take action if the proposal by Members of Parliament to have their allowances increased by 39 per cent is included in the Budget to be read on the June 13 2019.
The new allowances amount to Shs63.46 billion, but would be confirmed it it’s included in the new financial year that will begin in July.
Kick Corruption out of Uganda (KICK-U), Kigezi Women in Development (KWID) and Let Us Save Uganda (LUSU) will mobilize the voters in all the constituencies across the Kigezi sub-region to take actions against their MPs through calling them to reverse this decision.
The three CSOs under the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) described the move of as ‘selfish’.
“We are further concerned that this act of increasing allowances especially by such a huge and unprecedented margin is not only insensitive to the plight of other public servants 1 but an act of selfishness on MPs’ part,” part of their statement reads in part.
According to Kakuru Robert, the executive director of KICK-Uganda, the new allowances will lead to poor service delivery in the next financial year and beyond since some sectors’ budgets have been reduced.
“This move concerns us considering the other pressing budget demands for example under the National Medical Stores, the budget for Supply of Anti-Malarial Medicines (ACTs) to accredited facilities was cut from UGX 10.2bn to 4.7bn in the FYs 2018/19 and 2019/20 respectively. This new resource that MPs are adding on their allowances (untaxed) can be used to upscale such critical sections in our budget that are instead being cut,” Kakuru said at a joint press conference in Kabale on Monday.
Florence Tumuheirwe, the executive director of KWID urged Ugandans to act accordingly should the legislators get their demands.
“Dear citizens, act now and tell your MP’s to reverse their plans for their good,” Tumuheirwe said while Simon Byamukama of LUSU warned government that poor service delivery in the next financial year would incite strikes and violence in the country.
“You’ve heard teachers announcing their strike, health workers may follow them,” Byamukama noted.
21 MP’s From Kigezi sub region getting Shs3.1 billion in the year
The 21 MPs from the Kigezi sub-region will cost the government a whopping Shs3.1bn in just allowances on top of their current privileges in the next financial year and beyond if the budget is passed.
According to Kakuru, Kabale Referral Hospital (KRRH) has a total of 66 vacant posts including six consultants (Shs202 million gap) and eight Senior Nursing officers among others (Shs144.9 million gap). That Shs3.1 billion allowances would itself recruit the entire vacant staff list at Kabale regional Referral hospital, pay them and still have keep some balance.
Every MP in the country will pocket Shs149 million yearly from the new increment which is more than the annual allocation for the unconditional wage grants of some Districts like Rubanda which gets only Shs125million.
Parliament didn’t deserve increment after its under performance
According to the Parliamentary Committee report on Legal and Parliamentary affairs (FY 2019/20), whereas most of the recurrent budget was utilized, the work plans were not executed as planned.
For instance, out of the planned 150 field visits by committees only 62 were undertaken and of 40 public hearings planned only 23 had been realized with all resources spent. In addition, while 18 bills have been passed by Parliament during the FY 20l8/19, the quality of legislation over time has deteriorated as evidenced from a number of litigations against various legislations.
The report also says in some instances, pieces of legislation have been recalled for review; and others not implementable; while some creating contradictions in government policies.
According to Kakuru, the proposed increment in the allowances can be perceived as a reward for under performance and discourages the notion of rewarding good performance within public service.