Parliament allocated itself Shs10bn from the Shs284bn supplementary budget passed a week or so ago.
Answering a query on allocation of 10bn/- to Parliament from the latest supplementary budget, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga Wednesday explained that it was premised on the need for MPs to foot costs of fuelling and servicing ambulances lent to the Covid Task Force, in addition to paying their drivers.
“It’s also to cater for the Health Committee, in addition to meeting costs of MPs messages on electronic media, in diverse languages,” Kadaga told NBS TV host Simon Kaggwa Njala.
During the interview, Kadaga also pointed out that it was high time funding to the Health ministry jumped from the current 8% to 15% of the national budget.
Parliament has surrendered all busses to the Ministry of Health to help in the transportation of health workers.
“I have supplied water tanks within trading centers in Kamuli. Some of us are taking care of poor people.”
Formally and informally, the responsibility to take care of some people falls on MPs.
Kadaga said when the lockdown took place, they had already started the budget meeting.
“We can’t shun our roles because of the lockdown. We are working only that we have had to scale down a lot.”
She said over 90% of parliament staff are working from home.
“When the president announced the lockdown, I had to call some members and take the decision. A few felt we should close. It is a hard decision, but I thought that in the interest of the country. We need to continue doing some work.”
Kadaga said working hours for plenary stop at 5:00 pm due to the curfew.
“This has affected the way we work and the amount of work we deliver on.”
She said legislators will attend one day a week so that each member gets an opportunity to speak once a week.
Plenary sits in a tent due to the physical distancing guidelines.
About travelling, Kadaga said she does not think she has looked at how much Ugandans have saved.
“Do you know how civil servants travel? Nobody takes interest in that or even the president’s travels. Everyone looks at parliament because we are the simplest punching bag.”
She said the whole of the East African region has to be ready in May to read the budget.
Kenya and Tanzania have cut down on their legislators to make sure the budget responsibilities are met.