By Our Reporters
Standing in for his boss Matia Kasaijja, State Minister for Finance in charge of General Duties Gabriel Ajedra has showed disgust over the insensitivity with which MPs keep altering their remuneration. Ajedra told a press conference at the Finance Ministry board room, where he launched the budget month for the FY2019/20, that he personally was vehemently opposed to the indifference with which his fellow MPs keep voting to up their financial entitlements.
Responding to a journalist who sought to know the extent to which such MPs’ demands distort the budgeting process, Ajedra said: “It’s without a doubt overstretching the budget and the country’s resources. We discussed this in cabinet the other day but we came to one conclusion there isn’t much we can do. Parliament has powers to determine its pay but I’m personally opposed to it. That money should be used elsewhere.” He added: “The law should be changed to have a salary review commission to determine salaries for the different people who earn from the consolidated fund because the way it stands, the executive can’t control what the MPs earn. They are in their own world.”
He warned that even when officials at the Finance Ministry have reservations, it’s a matter that has to be approached cautiously because some time back MPs reciprocated Finance Ministry’s apprehension by refusing to pass it’s (Finance Ministry’s) own budget. He said since then great lessons were learnt and the only way out is for Ugandans to unanimously push for change in the law so that the MPs’ power can be checked when it comes to determining their own emoluments.
The MPs’ latest increment in their entitlements will cost the tax payer Shs63.4bn annually with each legislator bagging an additional Shs140m in the same period, a thing that has attracted sharp criticisms from the public and civil society organizations. President Museveni has voiced his reservations about the MPs’ perceived indifference to their financially struggling voters. MPs have previously warned Museveni to back off with JB Nambeshe saying he is himself a spendthrift with no moral authority to lecture anyone of financial frugality. (For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).