MPs should buy their own iPads
Posted Wednesday, February 27 2013 at 02:00
It is fine for the MPs to own iPads. In fact, they should be encouraged to to keep themselves abreast with the latest technologies. However, the MPs earn enough money to purchase these items from their salaries.
Latest reports about Parliament’s intentions to spend about a billion shillings on iPad tablet computers for MPs should not go without scrutiny. Parliamentary officials claim that apart from bringing MPs up-to-speed with evolution in technology, they hope to save money in the long-run by cutting on printing and other stationery expenses.
It all sounds like a reasonable argument until we get to the economics of it. Whichever way we look at it, iPads are not about to revolutionise the operational efficiencies of Parliament; at least not in the short-term. Even if the iPads were going to do that (instantly improve the efficiencies of Parliament), it would not justify the Shs1 billion expenditure.
It is fine for the MPs to own iPads. In fact, they should be encouraged to not only own them but also try as much as possible to keep themselves abreast with the latest technologies. However, the MPs earn enough money to purchase these items from their salaries.
Small as Shs1 billion may appear, we (tax payers) do not have the luxury of spending it in such a fashion yet we know that we pay MPs enough money for them to be able to acquire these items off their salaries.
We agree with those who argue that the iPads should be loaned to the legislators. Besides saving taxpayers’ money, this is likely to encourage greater personal responsibility for the items by the intended users of the iPads.
True, there is about Shs16 billion that can be saved on an annual basis as a result of cutting costs on computer supplies, printing, stationery, photocopying, binding, and courier among others. However, we should not be donating Shs1 billion worth of iPads to people who can afford them.
The MPs might still argue that the iPads are simply one of the tools that they need to execute their duties but that does not mean they cannot afford them. Still, we are almost sure that these iPads will not be used exclusively for transacting parliamentary business.
We have lost billions of shillings as a country; we need to be saving the little that is available to us and we expect our MPs to be exemplary as we get about doing this.