A senior official in State House has voiced her concern over the increasing government spending on state burials and medical bills for Members of Parliament, yesterday told Parliamentary Accounts Committee—PAC that state burials and treating sick MPs causes State House to spend far above its expenditure hence the recurrence of supplementary requests.
Nakyobe and other State House officials were appearing before PAC to give responses to audit queries raised in the Reports of 2011 and 2012.
She was giving response to a query concerning unrealistic budget for State House where supplementary budgets are requested which most of the times exceed their initial budget approval.
Nakyobe told MPs that there are many emergencies in State House and that these activities overwhelm their budget and that they give money to most pressing issues.
Nakyobe said state burials strain the State House budget forcing them to spend over and above their budget. She also noted that there are a number of MPs whose medical bills have been settled by State House, but declined to reveal details citing the need to protect their privacy.
This caused mixed reactions among MPs who dismissed State House payment of MPs’ medical bills and Nakyobe insisted that some medical bills are catered for by State House citing the recently buried MPs Gregory Matovu for Bukanga and Joy Kariisa for Buhweju. The two died of last month after long illnesses.
She noted that State House does fund a lot of Parliament’s functions including the annual Prayer Breakfast, and that they settled bills for MPs like Gregory Matovu whose bill was 45,000 US dollars, approximately 112 million shillings.
Nakyobe said many of these officials end up in India for treatment with State House footing the bills.
PAC chairperson Kassiano Wadri dismissed the claim of State House footing medical bills and state burials for MPs asking whether there is a double expenditure by State House and the Parliamentary Commission which also does the same. Wadri also noted that the Public Service Ministry has a budget for funerals.
Paul Mwiru, Jinja Municipality East MP and PAC Vice Chairperson, said he as a person has a medical insurance which caters for his medical bills in case he falls sick asking how State House meets medical bills for MPs.
The MPs accused Nakyobe of trying to use parliament as a scapegoat for State House expenditure.
However, Nakyobe insisted that State House has a lot of demands some of which are emergencies that they can never budget for and that they always reallocate their already approved funds to these emergencies.