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Activists warn on spiraling MP wage bill

By Billy Rwothungeyo

Added 8th March 2016 04:33 PM

They slammed the ninth parliament—and urged MPs in the upcoming parliament to justify their obese wages by getting to work.

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Yiga (R) flanked by Imelda Namagga the senior program officer at UDN during the press briefing. Photo by Agnes Nantambi

The increasing weight of parliamentarians’ wage bill is becoming too big a burden that it will break the backs of tax payers sooner than later, the Uganda Debt Network (UDN) has warned.

The number of MPs has increased from 365 in the ninth parliament to 458 in the 10thparliament due to the newly created constituencies.

“Holding other factors constant, the wage bill for parliamentarians will be over sh11b per month. This will be a big burden on the tax payers as the cost of public administration is too high and unsustainable with time,” said Iga Christopher, a board member of the Uganda Debt Network.

Speaking a press on Sunday at UDN offices in Kampala, Yiga reasoned that the implications of this rising wage bill could lead to more government borrowing.

“While borrowing is not a problem per se, what do we say of the Uganda case, for instance, where external borrowing increased by 82% between FY 2014/15 and FY 2013/14? Over a longer horizon, total external debt for Uganda was said to be $6.27b at the end of February 2015, compared to $0.99b in 2006.”

Julius Kapwepwe Mishambi, director of programmes at UDN slammed the ninth parliament—and urged MPs in the upcoming parliament to justify their obese wages by getting to work.

“Even at the 11th hour, the ninth parliament did not perform. We have about 36 reports that have not been tackled; we have about 40 petitions from across Uganda that has not been handled. We have a number of other bills that are lying idle in the 9th parliament,” he said.

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