At a time when millions are crying out for not being able to work due to the Covid-19 Lockdown, a section of Members of Parliament have complained over being paid operational allowances on top of their basic salary yet they are not working.
MPs earn 11 million shillings as basic salary per month which after statutory deductions including tax comes to over 6 million shillings. The rest of the money, between 15 and 20 million shillings untaxed, is operational allowances. These include allowances for sitting in committees, town running and mileage (fuel).
However parliament was closed like all other offices for lockdown, and the Parliament premises were actually closed for two week for fumigation. Clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige as accounting officer specifically reminded MPs that they are not supposed to be working and should not go to the House except for private purposes.
Now through the Government Assurances Committee, MPs have questioned why they are being paid all the allowances on top of the basic salary and yet they are not working.
Mukono Municipality MP, Betty Nambonze told a press briefing that paying the 529 MP operational allowances while knowing very well that they are not working amounts to theft of public funds. She insists that allowances for holding meetings during this time when meetings are banned for health reasons is blatant theft.
She was supported by her Kalungu West counterpart Joseph Ssewungu. Sewungu said that the very government that has not appointed members of the ruling party to committees knows very well that the committees can not possibly be not sitting.
Nambooze said that curiously, the allowances are paid in advance, before the MPs do any work for the month. In other words, one is paid without knowing whether they work. She claims Uganda is the only country which pays such full time workers in advance.
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