So, our dear legislators are asking for money to acquire new cars for their use. This money is being termed as ‘CAR GRANTS’. I agree they do a lot of work and keep travelling upcountry to serve us and therefore they need facilitation to carry out their duties. A grant is defined as ‘’give formally, transfer legally’’ meaning without interest.
Below are the allowances they receive in Uganda Shillings:
Monthly salary 2.3 Million
Constituency allowance 3.2 Million
Subsistence allowance 4.5 Million
Mileage allowance 5.4 Million
Town run allowance 1.6 Million
Monthly gratuity 780.000
The highest paid MP earns about 21 Million and the lowest earns about 15.4 Million. With this amount of income per month, is it possible that an MP may not be able to save some of this money over a certain amount of time depending on his/her current expenses and afford to buy a car in the long run? When campaigning, most (if not all) of them assured their constituency members how they will work hard to ensure that these people get all available services. Have the people gotten all (or even most) of these services? Can a yes answer be evident if one travels away from an urban area to a rural area? Take note that some of these MP’s double as ministers and therefore receive allowances and salaries as ministers and then as MP’s separately. With such an amount of money being earned by someone who claims to be working for the good of the country, is this the right thing to ask for? How many MP’s do not own their personal cars? Most of them have a car for themselves, another for their wives and some of them even have a car that stays home for day-to-day activities like taking children to school and any emergencies that may arise in the absence of both parents! The current plan by leadership in Kampala is to decongest the city. The MP’s should be the first to push this initiative forward by agreeing to own one car and even leave that car in a location outside the city and have one (or two or even three) of the buses that are being brought into the city to transport the rest of us (who may not be able to get a 103 million car grant) be set aside to collect them from these parking spots, rather than have 365 more cars headed to Parliamentary Avenue. This would really encourage the rest of the citizens to do the same.
Alternatively, couldn’t they think of asking for the 103 million shillings and pay back over time with interest thus contributing to the economy? In such a way, those who believe they may not be able to pay back this money would opt out and keep using their personal cars or even public transport to enter the city! Those who would pick the money would pay back over time, with interest, thus contributing more money to the economy through the interest accrued. There should also be a legislation barring MP’s from being Ministers. That way, more employment opportunities would be created and the independence of the Legislature would be preserved.
The enjoyment of different gov’t benefits (including cars, salaries, allowances, offices, et al) by one individual would also be avoided thus contributing to fair distribution of income among the general public. To me, this money being asked is more of a personal investment than a public investment. It is such behavior of using tax payers’ money for personal benefits that must be condemned from our public leaders and instead encourage them to serve without any self interests. If anything, the reasons being given for the failure to increase teachers’ salaries to their request and expectation should be understood by the MP’s as having the same impact across public leaders and civil servants.
Otherwise, I don’t see how the MP’s can get this car grant, drive back to their constituencies and explain to the teachers that there is no money to facilitate increase of their salaries at a much faster rate. It is these same MP’s who take ‘official’ tours to Mulago, other public health facilities and educational facilities in their areas and promise work on these lacking facilities but never get back to fulfill their offers. All they do is blame gov’t for the dilapidated structures and facilities yet it can be in their power to cause a difference of a much higher magnitude. On a daily basis, I read newspaper advertisements of people (usually children) asking for contributions of donations to surgery of major parts of their bodies but on very few occasions have I read of these politicians contributing to these surgeries! I find their request totally lacking in patriotism for the fights they always claim to spearhead in Parliament and I pray they realize the urgency of many more needs by other people than these multi-million personal investments!
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