9 January 2007

Uganda: MPs to Get Govt Cars

Kampala — THE Government has resolved to buy new four wheel-drive vehicles for the country's 332 MPs.

The vehicles would bear government number plates. The Government would also foot the service and maintenance bills and pay for the drivers.

Since the official policy discourages the purchase of second-hand vehicles, the Government is expected to spend between sh80m to 120m on each vehicle.

Parliament Commissioner Justine Lumumba yesterday communicated the Government's decision to the press, amid chants from fellow members of the 'Caucus of the Whole House', comprising MPs from both the Government and the opposition.

She explained that the compromise was reached during a meeting at State House in Nakasero between President Yoweri Museveni and members of the Executive.

After a five-year term, MPs will be given the choice of buying the vehicle or handing it over to the Parliament Clerk. She said the new policy would also apply to ministers, the prime minister and the vice-president.

"I would like to thank the Government for having solved the transport issue. When we came up with the sh60m demand, the public perceived it that we wanted money," she added.

Asked which type of vehicles would be bought and when they would be delivered, Lumumba said: "We want the vehicles immediately. You have seen permanent secretaries and commissioners, who are below MPs, being driven in Land Cruisers and Jeep Cherokees. Ours should be befitting the legislature protocol."

MPs are entitled to a salary of sh1,461,000 a month, plus a gratuity of 30% of the annual salary. They also get a subsistence allowance of sh150,000 per day when Parliament is sitting, amounting to an estimated sh3.3m a month.

In addition, MPs get a constituency mobilisation allowance of sh150,000 per month for ordinary MPs and sh200,000 per month for those representing special interest groups.

They get sitting allowances for committee meetings of sh10,000 per meeting for ordinary members, sh12,500 for committee vice-chairpersons and sh15,000 for chairpersons.

The MPs also receive sh10m annually as 'constituency development fund' and another sh2.4m per year as medical allowance.

Twice a month, MPs are facilitated to travel to their constituencies. They receive mileage of sh1,150 per km on murrum roads and sh958 per km on tarmac roads. On top of that, 500km of travel is paid per month to tour the constituency.

Though salaries vary greatly according to the distance of the MP's constituency to the capital, an MP gets between sh6.4m (Kampala) and sh8.8m (Kotido).

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