The parliamentary commission was yesterday grilled over its plans to spend mega billions purportedly to construct new house chambers.
The commission yesterday appeared before the legal and parliamentary affairs chaired by Stephen Tashobya to defend its budget for the coming financial year.
The commission led by Rose Senninde and clerk Jane Kibirige confidently turned up before this committee armed with all sorts of confidential files to market their new ideas.
Among the new ideas is a salary increment bonanza for parliamentary staff, set new chambers and procuring luxurious cars for its commissioners.
The commission wants shs270bn to set up a ‘state of the art’ chamber of parliament.
However, finance ministry has slapped the commission in the face after allocating only shs8bn for this project in the coming FY.
The commission in the current FY was given shs39bn and is now on its knees to at least be given the same amount of shs39bn to kick start the project.
“Instead of giving us shs8bn, at least finance should maintain shs39bn which it gave us in the current FY. We need to start” Ssenninde marketed the idea to members.
Another officer Obabaru Okello [deputy clerk] told the committee that the commission wants new fleet by procuring four luxurious wheels for parliamentary commissioners.
The commission claims that the current vehicles have overstayed after serving seven years since 2009.
However, the demand for shs270bn for the new chambers wasn’t received well among committee members.
The members actually termed it as a total wastage of public resources.
“It is not good to spend shs270bn on construction of a new chamber when we are talking of health centers lacking drugs, agriculture etc. It is not a priority [chamber]. We [MPs] are the people who create these constituencies. Why do we create constituencies which we cannot fund?” Tashobya asked.
The commission in its reasoning for new chambers stated that they want new chambers to accommodate about 500 members. They added that there are indications that the size of parliament is also going to widen because more constituencies are going to be created. As such, there will not be enough seats.
The committee members however, argued that much as a new chamber is being sought for, it is a waste because even the current chamber, it has never been full even after having many members.
“For you to start imagining to start new chambers is a wastage, uncalled for. It is a waste of tax payers funds. It is totally immoral and wastage. We want to waste these billions to set up parliament which will turn into a dancing hall? If all your needs as parliament have been addressed, consider reallocating this money to other sectors” Abdu Katuntu added.