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Uganda: Speaker of Parliament defends MPs from alleged Covid-19 consultation money

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KAMPALA – Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has banned MPs from defending themselves against the Shs10b as part of the Shs284b to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus in the country. It’s said that this money will be shared amongst MPs with each set to get Shs20M.

During the consideration of the Sh304b supplementary budget for COVID-19, Parliament allocated itself Sh10b after budget cuts from different sectors such as the ministry of health and security among others.

The Sh10b allocation to parliament has since attracted public criticism attacking parliament for being greedy.

However, some MPs have since distanced themselves from the Money saying they have not received a single penny which according to parliament is meant for oversight work of MPs on COVID-19.

Ugabda’s Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga

Kadaga said that it’s her duty and the commissioner of Parliament to speak about this money.

Kadaga was in an interview with NBS Television, where she was explaining why Parliament is still sitting amid calls of social distancing to contain the spread of Coronavirus in Uganda.

She explained that part of the Shs10b will be used to maintain the ambulances contributed by Parliament and individual MPs, provide fuel and pay allowances for the drivers of the ambulances already released by MPs.

“We have ambulances commandered by Ministry of Health. The drivers have to be paid and ambulances serviced. MPs are also busy on advocacy. Committees are following up on what is happening in hospitals and they are reporting to the country,” said Kadaga.

During the interview, Speaker clarified on a number of issues including calls by public to have MPs sacrifice their pay to facilitate the population with Speaker replying, “MPs have paid over Shs1b for the cancer ward in Nsambya Hospital. We have contributed millions to the Uganda Cranes. So if they bring such a motion to Parliament, we shall consider it.”

The Speaker also demanded for better treatment of local investors by the government, arguing that Uganda’s economy will be battered by Coronavirus and there is need by Government to put mitigation measures to curb the impact of the Pandemic in Uganda.

The Speaker also castigated Government for distributing food relief to residents in Kampala and Wakiso districts, while leaving out other urban poor in many districts across the country

She also called for increase in the funding to the Health sector from the current 8% to 15% of the national budget.

However, The People Power political pressure group has condemned parliament for allocating Shs10 billion to lawmakers.

Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu

In a statement, the group’s leader, who is also the Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu says that the allocation of the money during a crisis is shameful.

Kyagulanyi clarifies that he has not yet received the money, but should it be deposited on his account, he will direct the bank to return it to the consolidated fund.

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