Ruhinda North Member of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has advised new legislators to prioritize their expenditure in order to avoid debts and live a comfortable life.
Tayebwa, who is vying for the position of Deputy Speaker to replace Jacob Oulanyah in the 11th Parliament, was meeting MPs from Acholi sub-region at Bomah Hotel in Gulu.
“I know of MP colleagues who don’t take home a million shillings. Usually, newcomers in parliament fall prey to debt repayment problems partly because they are still very excited,” Tayebwa said.
“I understand the issues to do with our welfare and we will be very strong about them.”
The legislator however warns fellow MPs against selling their private property to do government work in Parliament.
“You going to be given a car, it has no driver, it has no maintenance…… Those cars aren’t tax-free. You’re to get a car of 100 million but you’re to pay a tax of 70 million back to government,” he warned.
Tayebwa said MPs are forced to meet a lot of demands by voters and by the time they get elected, they have already made a number of pledges that they strive to fulfill using personal finances in order to stand a chance of getting re-elected.
The problem of MPs being indebted has in the past seen President Museveni intervene through bailouts to some legislators.
The Parliamentary Commission has also lifted guaranteeing of loans by parliament, arguing that the institution had been turned into a debt collection agent by lending institutions.
MP Tayebwa however advised fellow legislators to prioritize their expenditure and make wise business decisions.
At the meeting, Tayebwa wooed fellow legislators from both his NRM party and the opposition to support his bid for Deputy Speaker with a promise of becoming a unifying factor in the 11th parliament.
He also promised to ensure backbenchers, especially the new MPs are given opportunity to contribute to parliamentary proceedings.
“I want to bring the office of speakership down to the backbenchers. There things we just joke around them with but I have seen the experience of a backbencher. There’s a big difference between them (backbenchers) and seniors in Parliament,” he said.
A backbencher is a Member of Parliament who does not hold the portfolio of ministers both in government and the Opposition.
Back Bench members cannot occupy the front seats in Parliament since they are reserved for Ministers.
The Leader of Opposition, Betty Aol Ochan applauded Tayebwa for the “wise counsel” on the issue of huge loans acquired by MPs.
She warned MPs to be very careful on acquiring such loans from commercial banks and money lenders because at the end of five years they will be more miserable and poorer than they joined Parliament.
According to Ochan newcomers have been seen drowning in a sea of loans and becoming poorer for good.