MPs ask govt to dole out Shs38bn for kings salaries, palaces

MPs ask govt to dole out Shs38bn for kings salaries, palaces
Katikkiro Charles Mayiga consults with the Kabaka

Parliament has asked the government to avail Shs31 billion for payment of monthly salary to each for the 17 gazetted traditional leaders.

The local kings and chiefs are entitled to Shs60 million monthly salary each.

Ms Flavia Kabahenda, chairperson pf the Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development, told Parliament on Friday to also dole out additional Shs4.3 billion to each of Iteso, Tieng Adhola, Buruli and Rwenzururu kingdoms to construct palaces.

Citing a presidential directive, Ms Kabahenda revealed that the total annual budget requirement for emoluments for traditional leaders is Shs32 billion but that only Shs840 million has been provided, leaving a shortfall of Shs31.3 billion.

“The Ministry of Finance should avail Shs31.330 billion to cater for the implementation of Cabinet's directive on emoluments to the 17 gazetted traditional and cultural leaders," she said.

"The Ministry of Finance should [also] provide Shs17.2 billion for the construction of palaces for the Iteso, Tieng Adhola, Buruli and Rwenzururu kingdoms as directed by the President."

The Constitution, under Article 246, provides for the recognition of traditional and cultural leader by the government.

Their privileges and benefits are exempted from taxation, with the duties and responsibilities financed through central government from the Consolidated Fund.

the privileges include an official and support car, fees for two biological children up to university level, first-class air ticket, palace refurbishment, and an annual unconditional tax-free honorarium.

Usuk County MP Bosco Okiror welcomed the proposal of the construction of palaces for traditional leaders at the expense of taxpayers, but asked to have the funds for Iteso Palace to be placed under the Ministry of Teso Affairs.

“For purposes of cultural institutions of Iteso and Kumam they should be delisted from this and brought under the Ministry of Teso Affairs,” said Okiror.

However, Manjiya County MP John Baptist Nambeshe was bemused by Parliament's call, apparently, because the Bugisu cultural institution was conspicuously missing from the palace bonanza.

"I don’t know why Bugisu is conspicuously missing on that list and moreover, Shs17.2 billion is something good enough to stretch it to all these palaces including Bugisu cultural palace,” Nambeshe, who is also the Opposition Chief Whip, said.

He reminded the government that Bugisu's entitlement was, like for the others, from pledges that the President has made pertaining the construction of the palace.

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