Sources have intimated to URN that the move took effect this financial year, despite denials by officials of the parliamentary commission.
Reports emerging from parliament show that despite the hard economic squeeze members of parliament have decided to enhance their sitting allowance and monthly salary using 2.9 billion shillings that was budgeted for the Constituency Development Fund-CDF. Sources have intimated to URN that the move took effect this financial year, despite denials by officials of the parliamentary commission. Members of the parliamentary commission allege that the reports are aimed at drawing a wedge between MPs and the public.
Early this year, MPs suggested the scrapping of the CDF saying that the shillings 10 million allocated to each MP was not sufficient to cover their constituencies. Patrick Ocailap, the Director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance told URN that he is aware the Parliamentary Commission had scrapped the fund with effect from this financial year due to problems of its management. He however said the budget ceiling for the fund had been maintained and was being remitted to the commission.
Ocailap said that the parliamentary commission was a self accounting body with powers to prioritize what to spend on. But a senior source at the Finance ministry who asked not to be quoted for fear of being victimized by the MPs if he divulged the truth said that the money is now part and parcel of their allowances.
The Public Relations Manager of Parliament, Helen Kawesa, while denying knowledge of the development, said that the commission has been working hard to enhance salaries of the Members of Parliament as well as staff. Kawesa said she was aware that the CDF was scrapped because it was not sufficient enough to cover the MP’s work yet the public was making a lot of noise about it. She said that the commission has been trying to repackage it so that it comes back in a better way, to meet the demands and expectations of the electorate.
Kawesa said that the commissioners were better placed to comment on the matter. Chris Baryomunsi, a Parliamentary Commissioner has denied allegations that they rechanneled the fund to pay their allowances but confirmed that the commission is still receiving the money from the Ministry of Finance. This latest development is likely to anger many Ugandans, especially teachers and health workers, who have been asking for a pay rise in vain for the past two years.
The current Members of Parliament are already benefitting from a number of financial packages in form of several allowances in addition to the salary that they get. They include Mileage facilitation of Ug Shs 4.5m, Constituency facilitation of 3.2m, a monthly taxable salary of 2.6m. Other allowances that the MPs get include subsistence, Town Running allowance, Committee sitting allowances, Honoraria for Committee Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons, contribution to motor vehicle purchase, medical, gratuity and out of pocket money.
Recently the MPs benefitted from a government contribution towards the purchase of their vehicles by up to 103 million shillings. The Constituency Development Fund in Uganda arose out of meetings between the President and Members of the 7th Parliament and a subsequent Presidential pledge to the MPs. It was intended to relieve MPs of the pressures of their constituents who always demand of them contributions towards development projects.
constituency development fund
chris baryomunsi mp