Anti corruption coalition warns on over spending

By  Deo Wasswa

Anti corruption coalition Uganda says  president Museveni’s directive to ministry of finance to procure armored vehicles for Members of  Parliament is an abuse of taxpayer’s money.

Addressing a press conference, Cissy Kagaba, the executive director of the coalition noted that the Ugandan tax payer is already burdened by the fat allowances for MPs including basic pay, constituency facilitation, sitting allowances, social security among others .

The coalition is therefore calling upon the president to rescind this directive since it is discriminatory in nature against all Ugandans.
If the ministry of finance implement the president’s directive, a total of Uganda shillings 228b will be needed.

Legislators called back from recess

By Daudi Zirimala

The Parliament of Uganda is sitting this afternoon from recess to discuss matters of national importance.

According to the clerk to parliament Jane Kibirige, the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga summoned the legislators to constitute the sector committees of parliament for financial year 2018/19.

Some sources also said that issues of mobile money and social media tax likely to be discussed under matters of national importance.

MPs deserve a bigger pay -Hon. Waluswaka

By Edwin Muhumuza

Bunyole West MP, James Waluswaka has refuted media reports that legislators had decided to double their salaries. He however justifies the need for the move ,owing to the fact that MPs at times do engage in several activities ;official and unofficial. The NRM legislator says may be in the next financial year they may increase their salaries.

Usuk County MP Peter Ogwang, who is a Parliamentary Commissioner for Finance and Planning, has insisted the commission had not yet submitted a request for salary increment for MPs.

Chris Obore, the Parliament’s Director for Communication and Public Affairs, says the Parliamentary Commission did not make a request for MPs’ salary enhancement, but admitted the request may have been “introduced at some stage”.

Honourable Waluswaka,remarks that government does not have money to the extent of affording drugs such as Septrin and therefore any increment would be selfish at this time.He has instead accused the opposition of propaganda intended to throw mud at the government in order to incite the public.

Perspective

An MP in Uganda earns a basic salary of Shs 11.18m, which is taxed. However, they also take home a raft of untaxed allowances, which elevates their total pay package above the Shs 20 million-mark.

These include subsistence allowance of Shs 4.5m, town running allowance (Shs 1m), gratuity (Shs 1m), medical allowance (Shs 500,000), committee sitting allowance (Shs 50,000), plenary sitting allowance (150,000), as well as a mileage allowance from Parliament to the furthest point of an individual MP’s constituency.

In East Africa, the Ugandan MP’s take total package is higher than that of a Tanzanian legislator ($7,266) and Rwandan ($1,271). The earnings of Ugandan MPs’ have once again been put in the spotlight by the 10th Parliament to increase the legislators’ one-off car grant allowance by 94 per cent from Shs 103m of their predecessors to Shs 200m.

Parliament closes in on government officials asking favors from investors

By Edwin Muhumuza

Members of parliament have called for the streamlining and publication of all incentives and benefits  of investors in the ongoing amendments to the investment bill.

This after it was revealed that some government officials were going ahead to ask for favors from investors in return of granting them licenses for operation.Their concerns were raised as the State Minister of Finance for Investment, Hon.Evelyn Anite accompanied by Investment Authority Executive Director Jolly Kaguhangire ,appeared before the committee of finance.

Last week, among the things highlighted on the floor of parliament was that the law focused on the investment authority yet there were outstanding issues pertaining the investor.Now  the parliamentary committee of finance headed by,Hon.Henry Musasizi, is trying to conclude with the review of the investment code bill which seeks to  amend the 1992 investment Act.

Members of the committee  have deferred debate on the Investment Code Bill aimed at ensuring a conducive environment for investors. Amos Lugolobi (Ntenjeru South), a member of the Parliament committee says there should be incentives for strategic areas of investments, including VAT Exemptions on, supply of services such as feasibility studies/designs, earth moving equipment, construction materials, to a developer of an industrial park, whose investment is at least $200million among others.

Patrick Nsamba(Kasanda North) adds that the Investment code bill should include, the environment of operation ,handling issues such as, investment guarantees, competition, openness in trade and investment, investor rights, treatment ie; the local investor versus the foreign investor, issues to do with protecting capital investment, repatriation of capital and assets, protection of intellectual property, and financial transparency.

 

Speaker Kadaga asks government to support innovative women

By Zirimala Daudi

The speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga says that the government should support women in innovations and creativity skills by including them into the innovation fund.

Reading the statement on behalf of the speaker, the minister of state for Science and Technology Elioda Tumwesigye , the speaker said women and girls constitute a half of the Uganda’s population and 40% of the business registered in Uganda are owned by women therefore its incumbent upon government to put in place policies to support women.

She said the Intellectual property day celebrates the resourcefulness and bravery of the women who are driving change in our world and shaping our common future.

The World Intellectual day was organized by Uganda Registrations Services Bureau under the theme powering change; women in innovation and creativity.

 

Rukutana says Government acted with in the law on age limit

Deputy  Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukuntana  has told court in Mbale hearing the age limit petition  that  parliament acted within the law and prescribed procedures to amend the Constitution including the lifting of the 75 year old presidential age limit and enlargement of the MPs and LC5 leaders tenure term in office from five to seven years.
Rukutana and  solicitor General Francis Atoke led a legal  team of other  18 state Attorneys  in their effort to prove before a panel of five justices that the law was constitutionally passed. He adds that government did not break any law while facilitating the entire process leading to the amendment of the constitution including the  funds from the consolidated fund to pay 29 million shillings to each mp  fir consultations.

Parliamentary committee advised to leave Kadaga-Namuganza feud to Museveni

By Edwin Muhumuza

NRM chairman Eastern Region Mike Mukula has told the parliamentary committee on rules and discipline that the scuffle between lands minister Persis Namuganza and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga should be left to the party.

The Former Soroti Municipality MP was appearing as witness in a scandal that has shocked the country and heightened ethnic tensions in Busoga region.He said the matter is now being solved by the party chairman Yoweri Museveni.

Deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah directed the committee chaired by Kalaki MP Clement Ongalo-Obote to investigate the two powerful women from Busoga sub-region after Ngora MP David Abala raised a procedural matter, that the conflict as captured in the media was irritating and required explanation.

Kadaga and Namuganza’s conflicts started early this month at function to launch boreholes in Bukono, where Namuganza reportedly told off Kadaga and Busoga king Gabula Nadiope to concentrate on ‘fighting jiggers in Kamuli’, which to her are a serious threat than ‘poking their noses’ into Namutumba affairs.

The Bukono County MP,  shed tears last week while appearing before the Committee on Rules, Discipline and Privileges over her rivalry with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga,saying that her life is in danger, after the Speaker allegedly ‘declared war’ on her.

Internal affairs expecting new stock of passports in July

Internal Affairs Minister Jeje Odongo has told Parliament that the new stock of ordinary passports is expected to arrive in a month’s time.

Minister Odongo’s revelation on Wednesday followed a heated debate on his statement to parliament communicating the low stock levels of ordinary passports as per the 13th June 2017 ministry’s press release.

In his statement, Odongo attributed the shortage in ordinary passports to the yet to be realised migration from machine readable passports to the E-passports which had been planned for April 3, 2017. He now says that East Africa Member States have now extended the deadline to December 2017.

“In view of the above, it was logical to procure reasonable quantities to avoid financial loss due to over stocking of a passport that is about to be replaced,” said General Odongo.

He added that his ministry was also experiencing an unprecedented increase in the demand for ordinary passports especially from Ugandans seeking employment abroad from 450 to 700 daily applicants.

He however said that his ministry was already taking the necessary steps to ensure that the required stock levels are replenished.

Odongo told parliament that the Attorney General William Byaruhanga has already cleared a new agreement to enable the Internal Affairs ministry replenish the stock of ordinary passports in one month.

The minister’s comments on the new stock of passports, however, came after legislators led by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga had faulted government for what they called incompetence and poor planning. They also noted that the development was financially nonviable to the country.

Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga said it was the first time he was listening to a General make a confession of incompetence before parliament.

“Could you tell parliament why we should not hold you responsible for incompetence and mismanagement? The minister is telling us he has failed at his duties,” said Mpuuga.

-URN

 

Parliament finally approves UGX 15.9 Billion for LC polls

Parliament has approved 15.9 billion Shillings to fund elections for Local Council (LC) I and II leaders across the country. The funding was approved as parliament considered a report of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for the financial year 2017-2018.

Legislators warned that the budget for the Electoral Commission, one of the sectors dissected by the legal committee, could not be approved without a provision for local council elections.

The local councils are the first reference points for the community and other organs of the state. However, Uganda has not held LCI elections since 2001 owing to a 2007 ruling based on a petition filed by Maj Rubaramira Ruranga, the former chairman of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party Electoral Commission.

Major Ruranga argued that Local councils which were previously elected under the movement system became unconstitutional when the country adopted a multiparty political system.

Court ruled that the new LCs could not be elected unless the respective electoral laws had been amended to reflect the multiparty setting. Subsequently parliament of Uganda passed the Local Government (Amendment) Bill which provides for election of village, ward and parish councils under the multiparty system. However, no fresh LC elections have been held to date.

Jacob Oboth-Oboth the chairperson of the Legal Committee of parliament earlier told the committee that there was no provision for funding local council elections in the EC budget for next financial year. However, his submission was contested by State Minister for Planning David Bahati who insisted that money had been provided for the polls.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah directed the two leaders to vacate the chambers and reconcile their figures.

On return, both MP Oboth and state minister Bahati confirmed to parliament that funds have been availed in the next financial year 2017/2018 to conduct local council elections. Bahati said that the money had been classified as general elections.

Uganda has 57,842 villages.

 

 

-URN

Court overturns decision on Katakwi MP Akurut

By Sania Babirye

The  Court of Appeal has overturned the Soroti high court decision that had nullified the election of Katakwi district woman MP Violet Akurut.

Three court of appeal justices led by deputy chief justice Steven Kavuma  ruled that the lower court trial judge David Wangutusi applied the law wrongly  when he treated the MP as a public servant for failing to resign  her position in the  Human rights commission  90 days before she presented herself for nomination.

The justices ruled that Hon Akurut  is not a public servant as it had been stated because she is not an employee of the Human Rights Commission and  commissioners are not public servants.

The court has now reinstated her as the district  woman MP and ordered the petitioner to pay her costs of the suit.

In July 2016 the MPs victory was cancelled on grounds that she never resigned her  public service position as a commissioner with the Uganda Human Rights Commission after a voter a one Simon Peter Emorutu challenged her victory and ordered for fresh elections.