PARLIAMENT. The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga has pledged support to the Uganda Parliamentary Press Association (UPPA) Savings and Credits Cooperative Society (SACCO) as a way of improving their welfare.
The Speaker made the pledge Thursday morning during a meeting with UPPA members, the first interaction she has had with journalists since her return from medication at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya a few weeks ago.
“On the issue of the SACCO, we are going to do something about it. We have been supporting Rotary as part of Cooperate Social Responsibility as parliament,” she said.
The Speaker said she needs three-months-time to engage with the Parliamentary Commission on how financial support can be extended to the UPPA SACCO.
Ms Kadaga was responding to a request made by the UPPA president Mr Moses Mulondo who said the SACCO has been fully registered but needed support from Parliament.
Mr Mulondo said the welfare of journalists is wanting with some earning a monthly pay of as little as Shs100, 000.
“Journalists are poorly paid in their media houses here in Uganda. Many are paid around Shs100, 000 per month which exposes them to extortions. So as UPPA we request for an annual contribution to the SACCO,” he said.
Mr Mulondo also expressed a need for parliament to involve journalists in doing research and pay them allowances in return. He also requested the Speaker to find a spacious room with parliament as the current press office cannot accommodate the 265 journalists accredited to cover parliament.
The room has a sitting capacity of 17 people with only seven computers something that causes a lot of queues for journalists to file their stories.
In her response, Ms Kadaga promised to visit the press office soon before she takes the matter to the parliamentary commission.
The speaker also criticised journalists for pre-empting committee reports by speaking to individual Members of Parliament hence the public taking their opinions as decision of parliament.
“Don’t take personal opinions of MPs as decisions of parliament. Sometimes you pre-empt committee reports before they are presented in the house for us to have debate and take decisions,” she said.