BY SALIM KALANZI
Parliament has now procured iPads for its 529 MPs and 26 ex-officio members, a few days after it wired sh200m to legislators to buy cars.
Overall, Parliament spent sh111b on MPs and Ex-officio members (Ministers who don’t represent any continuecy and Army representatives). The release of the money sparked mixed reactions from members of the public struggling as a result of lockdown restrictions to curb the spread of COVID19.
The procurement of the iPad was on Thursday communicated by the Deputy speaker Anita Among, saying that Parliament would start distributing the iPads to MPs on Monday (August 2, 2021).
The tradition of procuring iPads for MPs started during the 9th parliament when the parliamentary commission, the governing body of the House approved the expenditure. Among said with the iPads, MPs no longer have the excuse of missing documents or meetings.
The iPads provided to MPs are supposed to be returned at the closure of the term of parliament. In March 2021, the former clerk to parliament Jane Kibirige directed MPs on the 10 Parliament to return the iPads bought in 2016 by 30th April 2021.
Kibirige then said that the iPads are property of the government and that parliament had valued them for disposal depending on their type and year of purchase. However, parliament advised MPs who could afford to buy the iPads at a disposal price. It is not immediately clear how many iPads were returned or bought by the MPs.
Other benefits of Ugandan MPs
At the close of every month, an MP earns a net salary of sh6.1m besides a string of benefits that include housing allowance of sh6.5m, constituency support fee of sh17.03m plus a town running fee of sh1.945m.
Ministers or Ex-officios that don’t represent any constituency are exempted from the constituency fund.
Fuel allowance that ranges between sh10.3m and sh31m per month also adds to the list of benefits of MPs. Its computation is premised on the distance of one’s constituency from Kampala hence positioning Kampala MPs with least funding on fuel.
The MPs that fetch the highest on mileage are those representing on national level like the youth representatives, UPDF, PWDs and Workers MPs.
Additional reporting by URN