- Published on Monday, 06 August 2012 11:32
- Written by Nkwasibwe Geofrey
- Category: news
- Hits: 331
Allowances paid to MPs are being raised by between 50 and 340 per cent, Parliament has confirmed, despite the legislators being among the highest-paid public officials.
An internal memo circulated to MPs last month and seen by this newspaper shows that out-of- pocket payments and allowances for handling committee work have been increased.
Parliament’s Finance department indicated that out-of-pocket will rise from Shs100,000 to Shs150,000 per day. Primary school teachers recently received a 15 per cent salary raise, taking their monthly pay to Shs313,950.
Parliament spokesperson Hellen Kaweesa yesterday defended the increase which stands above the current rate of inflation that stood at 14.7 per cent by end of July.
Ms Kaweesa said the increase in MPs’ allowances is “to facilitate them do their committee work effectively”. Workers MP Sam Lyomoki, said he could not comment on the fairness of this development since he was personally not aware of any increases.
“Matters concerning MPs salaries are handled by the Parliamentary Commission where I am not a member. I cannot confirm whether there is such an increment,” he said.
In the increases, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mr Nandala Mafabi, would have his out-of-pocket lifted from Shs160,000 to Shs240,000 per day. Each committee chairperson will pocket Shs60,000 per sitting, up from the Shs15,000 paid to them in the previous Parliament.
he same communication indicated that deputy chairs of committees - both standing and sessional – will have their sitting allowances rise from Shs12,500 to Shs55,000 while each member will be paid Shs50,000 per sitting, up from Shs10,000.
MPs who do not attend committee work, usually conducted in the morning hours, however, do not get paid because it is pegged to attendance.
The tracking system nevertheless remains ineffective in stemming abuse.
Scores of MPs are known to sign the attendance book and leave before their respective committees conduct meaningful business – a state of affairs bemoaned by the Speaker’s Office and which continues to severely inhibit Parliament’s ability to complete work in time. MPs do not get paid allowances for sitting in plenary sessions when Parliament convenes as a whole House to deliberate.
What it means
This increase, however, means that Parliament could now possibly spend at least Shs500 million annually on its 28 committees with each of the 375 elected MPs sitting on at least two committees.
The MPs recently benefitted from a government contribution of Shs103 million each towards the purchase of personal vehicles.
Legislators already enjoy substantial financial packages in form of several allowances in addition to the salary that they get.
Among others, they receive mileage facilitation of Shs4.5 million, constituency facilitation of Shs3.2 million and a monthly taxable salary of Shs2.6 million, consolidated to between Shs15m to 20m.
Other allowances include subsistence, town running allowance, honoraria for committee chairs and vice chairs, medical insurance and gratuity.
Parliament has three types of committees; the Standing, Sessional and Select committees. Membership of Standing committees is for the entire five-year lifespan of Parliament while Sessional Committees are constituted at the beginning of every session of Parliament.
The new allowances paid to MPs raise fresh questions about discrepancies in public pay. The law allows MPs to determine their own emoluments through the Parliamentary Commission and previous attempts to reform public pay have met little support in the Legislature or the Executive.
Source: Daily Monitor