Parliament on Wednesday evening released Shs 200m to each of the 529 MPs and 26 ex- officios (Ministers who are not MPs) to buy themselves brand new vehicles. The Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Commissioners will also receive te cash despite being entitled to brand new vehicles by virtue of the office they hold.
Ugandans have however lashed out at the institution of parliament over the timing at which the money has been disbursed. The money comes at a time when Uganda is struggling to balance its economy that has been heavily hit by the lockdown.
“We have a struggling health sector where hospitals and health units lack drugs and PPEs for medical officers and you tell me MPs vehicles are a priority,” reacted one person on the Twitter thread of parliament. “Our hospitals don’t even have ICU beds and oxygen cylinders. MPs should divert the money to procuring ambulances or ICU beds for all the regional referral hospitals,” proposed another Twitter user.
It should be noted that with 218 ICU beds in Uganda, the 529 MPs too are at a risk of losing their own lives in case they are struck with an ailment that requires an emergency ICU bed. Prioritizing their privileges and entitlements at the expense of the health sector has worried a huge section of the public. At least 111 billion has been set aside for the vehicle procurement scheme for the eleventh parliament MPs and by the time of filing this report, all had received the money on their respective bank accounts. MPs shall also receive other entitlements like health insurance, fuel allowances, airtime and data, sitting allowances among others.