The 11th parliament has considered and passed a motion that allows the expansion of cabinet to 80 ministers.
President Museveni recently sought permission to have the cabinet increased to add one minister of state slot to ensure the total number of ministries moves to 80.
On Thursday, West Budama North MP, Fox Odoi moved a motion to vary the number of cabinet minister and other ministers in accordance with Article 113 and 114 of the Constitution before Dokolo Woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal seconded the move.
“I beg for a popular support so that the elderly can be catered for,”Ogwal said.
There was however a heated debate as Members of Parliament discussed the motion on the floor of the August House.
Defending the motion, Minister Chris Baryomunsi said there is evidence to show that increase in the number of ministers and other political leaders leads to improved service delivery.
“There is statistical and scientific evidence to prove that the number of Ministers and political supervisors in the country has led to improvement of income indicators, when it comes to social economic transformation and service delivery. For example, life expectancy at birth has improved, mortality rates have declined and people below poverty line have dropped,”Baryomunsi said.
Several MPs, especially from the opposition however protested against the move that they said is going to cost the taxpayers a lot of money.
“We don’t determine ministers but having big population. Kenya has over 70 million people and only 23 ministers. Tanzania has a bigger population but fewer ministers than us. We are creating these ministries for nothing since the minister are never in parliament, “MP Joseph Ssewungu said.
“Having 80 ministers is going to be a cost on Ugandans .We want to improve schools and deal with Covid and not increasing the cost. This is going to be a burden for Ugandans.”
Makindye West legislator, Allan Ssewanyana also noted that government should be moving towards cutting costs of administration and not increasing the same.
He noted that by accepting to have the number of ministers increased, parliament will have “rubberstamped” cabinet decisions.
There is need to cut costs that go to administration of the country and it therefore makes no sense to increase the number of ministers. We have to start doing things differently,” he said.
The new opposition chief whip, John Nambeshe said the move to increase the size of cabinet has nothing to do with service delivery but rather for selfish reasons of the executive.
He said that ministerial appointments have become a tool of patronage and not a tool of improving the livelihoods of the population and extending services to them.
However, after the debate, parliament finally passed the motion.