Ugandans have expressed discontent over the timing and manner in which government has decided to give each Member of Parliament, shs200 million to buy vehicles.
Government recently revised the budget for procurement of new vehicles for MPs in the 11th parliament from shs321 million to shs200 million each.
However, according to reports, the Ministry of Finance has finally released the money to the accounts of each of the 520 Members of Parliament and 26 ex-officios in the 11t parliament
When contacted for a comment, the Director of Communications and Public Affairs Department in Parliament Chris Obore confirmed the money had reached the legislators’ accounts.
“We received the money for MPs car allowance and it has already been paid to them. It’s the same amount ( shs200m) that MPs of the 10th parliament got and it’s a one-off payment in five years,” Obore told the Nile Post on Thursday morning.
However, the development has aroused anger among Ugandans, especially those on social media who have since labeled government as inconsiderate.
“Parliament is a scheme to proliferate dictatorship. Every lumpen wants to take their gluttonous need to parliament to compete with Museveni in looting the nation,” said one Kakwenza Rukirabashaija on twitter.
Bernand Kironde said; “And then we hear there’s no enough oxygen in the hospitals, people are dying like infected chicken, we are suffering with no hope in lockdown and then MPs are getting 200m each for the 529 MPs. Imagine how many lives would be saved with that amount.”
Sentiments were not different for Sam Kyalema, a boda boda rider from Lungujja who said there are many vulnerable Ugandans to whom the money could have gone as they go through the Covid-induced lockdown that has hit them badly.
“Myself and many of my colleagues didn’t receive the shs100,000 that government had promised and all of a sudden you hear MPs have received all that money! Why not give the money out to the people who are suffering with Covid,”Kyalema said.
For many other tweeps, it is appalling that whereas the country is battling with the pandemic, government’s priorities are not streamlined towards the same cause.
“Citizens are starving to death but one person is receiving shs200 million for a car, so 529 people how much money will that be,” wondered one Senior Akeba.
Moses Muhindo said, “ Why not use that money to buy the much-needed vaccines for Covid-19? Cant MPs’ vehicles wait. When shall we ever get our priorities right?”
“Wow! On the same day that Nile Breweries donated 300 oxygen cylinders worth shs300 million, each MP gets a car worth shs200 million,” one Douglas Kyambadde commented on Twitter.
Speaking to Nile Post about the matter, Chris Obore, the Director Communications and Public Affairs Department in Parliament said the shs200 million is the same amount as one given to MPs in the previous 10th parliament.
Whereas many say the timing of the release of the money at a time when the country is battling the Covid pandemic is wrong, Obore insisted that MPs too, are involved in the fight against Covid, adding that the money for vehicles is part of their facilitation to do parliamentary work.
“It’s a statutory payment just like salaries and allowances of government employees. MPs are involved in the fight against Covid19 too. Whenever MPs get paid some people complain so it’s not about Covid19 but the attitude of some people toward MPs. But know that MPs need facilitation to do their work and in this Covid19 times they are more involved with their community than many of us,” he added.