KAMPALA - The State minister for East African Affairs Julius Maganda has challenged the relevance of the Prime Minister’s question time.
“The Prime Minister is supposed to be responding to issues of policy nature but MPs usually bring out issues in their constituencies. Sometimes the Prime Minister is forced to simply give his opinions. We need guidance,” Maganda argued.
Last week the speaker communicated a request from the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda to make an amendment for the questions to be sent to him before Wednesday so that he prepares substantive answers.
Responding to Maganda’s concern, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said, “I have instructed the rules committee to revise the content Prime Minister’s time for amendments. When the rules are clear, where shall know where to end.”
Parliament has a special session every Wednesday for the Prime Minister to answer questions from legislators.
But many MPs and journalists think the session is wastage of time since most of the responses by Rugunda usually lack the specific answers asked for.
Some MPs have in the past proposed that during that moment the Prime Minister should give opportunity to the ministers to give substantive answers on questions related to their sectors.
Like Maganda said, sometimes the MPs also get trivial by asking questions relating to small issues within their constituencies which are not of national importance.
During Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s question time, Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo asked why tax body URA has continued the interest earnings of SACCOs yet on May 23, 2016 the president had directed it should be stopped.
Rugunda responded: “I confirm the directive quoted by ndugu Ssekikubo. Actually, there are some SACCOs that have benefited from that directive. However, the full implementation of the directive is being studied by the ministry of finance.”
Pushed further by Ruhinda County MP Donozio Kahonda to name some of the SACCOs that had benefited from the directive, Rugunda could not do so.
Asked by Ajuri County MP why among all the roads UNRA plans to construct in the 2016/17 there is no road from his Lango sub-region, Rugunda said, “Lango is one of the regions that have benefited in the tarmacking of roads. Roads are constructed on the basis of economic viability, trade, security, and other considerations.”
Bugangaizi East MP Onesmus Twinamasitko asked the PM why Ugandans are exorbitantly charged sh100, 000 to be tested for yellow fever while traveling abroad and whether government has plans of carrying out nationwide vaccination against the disease.
He responded that government has no plan of carrying out nationwide vaccination against yellow fever and on the exorbitant charges he said there must be a problem because the charges should not be that high.