Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, announced that by October, each of the 427 members of parliament would receive Shs150 million (US$45,000) each to buy cars of their choice to travel to their constituencies. This largesse is expected to cost the taxpayer in excess of Shs64 billion, or around $20 million. The issue came to the fore when parliamentarians had a heated exchange with the Executive members over a decision by the ministry of finance to exclude the amount needed for the vehicles from the 2015/16 budget on the grounds that it had ‘overshot’ its budget ceiling.
The standoff in parliament was ‘resolved’ following Ms. Kadaga’s announcement. Though no details were available on how the agreement was reached, it has been reported that it involved the country’s President Yoweri Museveni directing the finance ministry to mobilize money by introducing a supplementary budget to bankroll the venture.
With 22 new districts expected to be created between 2016 and 2019, the additional 22 MPs will require an extra Shs3.3 billion ($980,000) for their vehicles, raising taxpayers’ expenditure on MPs cars from about Shs40 billion ($12 million) in 9th Parliament to nearly Shs70 billion ($21 million) in the 10th Parliament.