Proposed pay adjustment for Members of Parliament is meant to align it with current market trends/prices, the Parliamentary Commission has said.
Speaking on behalf of the Parliamentary Commission, Hon. Reagan Okumu said there is no increment in pay but rather an adjustment to match realities, as is normally done in other government departments.
“There is no increment in MPs’ pay or emoluments. What we are doing is adjusting what was given about eleven years ago. There has been repeated increment in fuel pump prices but the Commission did not adjust the mileage allowance accordingly,” Hon. Okumu said.
The Parliamentary Commission has proposed an adjustment in Members’ fuel allowance from Shs 2500 to Shs 3500 per kilometer starting next financial year 2015/2016.
Hon. Okumu dismissed media reports that the Commission had increased members’ pay “to motivate them ahead of next year’s elections.”
He also said that last year’s consolidation of MPs’ salary and allowances ensured that they pay taxes on all emoluments.
Following benchmarking from similar institutions, the Commission resolved to also improve staff emoluments in order to attract and retain competent staff in the Parliamentary Service, he added.
He said that staff and top executives in other self-accounting and semi-autonomous bodies receive better pay and facilitation than in the Parliamentary Service.
“Everything that happens in government is processed by Parliament. Parliament is the symbol of sovereignty and pride of the country,” he said, adding that, “We must attract highly qualified staff and they must be well facilitated.”
He cited India, where staff are paid better than legislators because of their importance as technical people having the institution’s memory.
“(Some) MPs leave (after five years) whereas staff stay. Already we’ve lost a number of seasoned and experienced staff,” he said.
“We need to be efficient, need quality work and to retain staff and memory.”
The functions of the Parliament of Uganda include passing laws for the good governance of Uganda; to provide, by giving legislative sanctions taxation and acquisition of loans, the means of carrying out the work of government; and to scrutinise government policy and administration.