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Members of Parliament receive iPads

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By  Olive Eyotaru

Posted  Friday, December 6   2013 at  02:00
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Parliament- The era of printed reports, motions, order papers and petitions in committees and plenary sessions will soon come to an end in Parliament after MPs received iPads, envisaged to reduce stationary costs.

The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, who yesterday handed over the 386 iPads to the legislators, including 11 ex-officios, at a cost of Shs 2.5 million each, said it was a timely intervention and expected to save annual costs incurred on stationary.

“It is expected that after this week, the Clerk will no longer have to print 400 sets of reports. I expect that the chairpersons will now take 10 minutes to use the gadgets to present their reports,” Ms Kadaga said.

“Ministers too will have to email their statements to Parliament ahead of time so we move faster than we have been doing,” the Speaker added.

In August, the Parliamentary Commission awarded the iPads deal to M/s Elite Computers (U) Ltd to supply the gadgets, however the move raised criticism from anti-corruption activists who accused MPs of being “self-centered and selfish” and turning the House into “a bottomless pit that has become a liability.

It also came at a time when teachers were demanding for a 100 per cent pay raise. The cost of each iPad is equivalent to a monthly stipend of 10 primary teachers, who each take home about Shs260,000.

However, Mr Emmanuel Dombo, one of the Parliamentary Commissioners, explained that the gadgets, which were purchased at a cost of Shs 976 million, are property of the August House and will only be given to the legislators once their tenure expires at a subsidised cost.

“We are going to have a period of transition for the iPads to become functional, however, they are not private property as has been taunted in some reports,” Mr Dombo said.

“These iPads are the property of Parliament at the acquisition price. At the end of Parliament, they are going to be depreciated and every holder will be required to pay for the residual value to own it,” he added.

oeyotaru@ug.nationmedia.com