Uganda: New MPs Cry Out for Salary

A number of Members of Parliament, especially the new ones, have cried out to Parliament to rescue them following delay in payment of their May salaries and allowances.

Multiple legislators this reporter spoke to all said they are struggling to survive in the city where the costs of living are higher than where they come from.

A source at Parliament, who preferred anonymity, said all the legislators were supposed to be paid May allowances and salaries but there have been delays in releasing funds by both Parliament and Finance ministry.

"They were first supposed to get the allowances then the salary would follow later. I am not sure when they will get it, but we hope by the end of the week," the source said.

A first time legislator from Jinja, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he is failing to secure accommodation in Kampala and has to commute from his upcountry home.

"I have my old car, but I have spent a lot of fuel. I spend more than Shs100,000 every day and this is draining the little resources I had saved. I hope they pay us soon," the MP said.

Mr Ronald Afidra Olema, the Lower Madi County Member of Parliament from Okollo District, said the situation is getting tougher every day.

"I know for many of us the first-timers the situation is very difficult, but it also depends on individuals and how they have planned their resources," he said.

Mr Joab Businge, the Masindi Municipality Member of Parliament, said: "We expected to be given money to start a new life as we start our work. We have to travel all the time and yet some of us have no homes in Kampala. They always require us to take Covid-19 tests and this is becoming too expensive," he said.

Mr Businge said while initially they had resisted the temptations from the money lenders, it has become difficult for MPs to ignore them and many have already fallen prey to them.

"They have given MPs money at very high interest rates because they know we have no option. Many of us first-timers do not know how much we are earning. Imagine taking a loan without knowing how much you will be paid, this is terrible," he said.

Mr Ronald Akugizibwe Aled, the Buruli County Member of Parliament, said they have not been informed when they will be paid .

"Yes, I know it's a problem but I cannot complain much because I don't know how our predecessors were being paid. I know they will pay us but what is more important is that we have started our work," he said.

Mr Chris Obore, the director of communications at the Parliament, yesterday while confirming the delays in payments said they are still processing data for all the legislators and that once complete, the payments will be made.

"Right now what is happening is that their data is being captured and after that the finance department will compute the data to accurately know who we are paying and how much each MP is paid. Not all MPs come from the same area and their allowances vary," Mr Obore said.

He asked the legislators to be patient as Parliament completes the process of data computation.

ENTITLEMENTS

All the legislators are entitled to the basic salary, mileage allowances, a motor vehicle allowance, overseas travel allowances, accommodation and other amenities. Others include committee allowance and any other that may be offered to them by the Parliament depending on the tasks performed.

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