Ugandan Members of parliament on the legal and parliamentary affairs committee have denied rumors about their proposed salary increment in the new financial year.
62 of the 348 billion shillings the parliamentary commission is seeking for is meant for the wage bill.
The proposed wage bill is three times more than last year’s wage bill, which stood at 19 billion shillings. However, the parliamentary commission says the additional money is to cater new parliamentary staff and not to increase the MPs pay.
During the discussion of the budget on Tuesday, the legal and parliamentary affairs committee asked journalists to leave the committee room. The decision by the committee to look out journalists raised suspicion on the ambiguity surrounding the parliamentary commission budget.
A Member of the parliamentary commission who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the commission did not propose any salary increment for the MPs but admitted there are proposed changes in their emoluments. He said that the commission has proposed a consolidation of the MPs’ subsistent allowances to be paid monthly together with their salaries.
This, he said is aimed at increasing the members’ gratuity and pension arguing that it will save MPs from living as paupers when they are no longer in parliament.
He however said that the members are not happy with the proposal since it attracts Pay As You Earn tax on their tax free allowances.
The commissioner’s explanation was corroborated by one of the members of the legal committee who said that Tuesday’s meeting was about the same proposal but the MPs rejected it. The member said that the MPs don’t want their allowances to be taxed though he agrees it will benefit them in future.
He explained that with the proposal MPs would get 120m shillings as pension at the end of 5 years compared to the current 75m shillings. He says the MPs would get 10M as gratuity at the end of every year instead of 6M shillings they get currently. The chairman of the committee Stephen Tashobya declined to comment on the issue but said that MPs are not getting any salary increment.