By October, each of the 427 MPs will pocket Shs150m to buy cars to travel to their constituencies, a venture that will cost the taxpayers a minimum of Shs64b, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga announced yesterday.
The issue of the car grant had put Parliament at loggerheads with the Executive after it emerged that the Ministry of Finance excluded the Shs64.05 billion for the MPs’ vehicles in the 2015/16 Budget on grounds that the Parliamentary Commission had “overshot” its budget ceiling.
Ms Kadaga yesterday told the House that the standoff has been “resolved” but did not divulge the details of how the agreement was inked to silence MPs who have been grumbling about resorting to risky means of transport like boda boda.
Daily Monitor understands that the junior Finance minister (Planning), Mr David Bahati, told the Parliamentary Commission meeting on Monday that Parliament will have to process a supplementary budget to bankroll the MPs car grant.
Mr Bahati, who was representing Finance minister Matia Kasaija, said the envisaged supplementary should be raised under Supplementary Schedule No. 1.
The Finance ministry had also proposed that MPs get the Shs150m car grant in shifts, with priority given to newly elected MPs, a proposal that was not agreeable to the Parliamentary Commission.
Asked how money for the MPs’ car grant was mobilised, Mr Chris Obore, the Parliament’s Director of Communication and Public Affairs, said Parliament reached out to President Museveni, who in turn directed the Finance Ministry to mobilise money to bankroll the venture.
“When the President was consulted, he understood [the need for MPs’ getting the car grant] and directed ministry of Finance to mobilise money and the Ministry has promised to do so,” Mr Obore said.
With 22 new districts expected to be created between 2016 and 2019, the additional 22 MPs will require an extra Shs3.3 billion for their vehicles, raising taxpayers expenditure on MPs cars from about Shs40b (Shs103m each) in 9th Parliament to nearly Shs70b in the 10th Parliament.
MPs in the 10th Parliament are pocketing more money for cars because of the appreciating dollar rate. Each MP will pocket Shs 150m,up from Shs 10m in the 9th Parliament, and will be at liberty to buy a car of their choice.