Parliament will require more than 180 cars to transport more than 1,200 delegates for the 2019 Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) in Kampala.
Authorities have spent Shs18b on the procurement of 64 CPC vehicles.
The new fleet is composed of four executive coaches (buses), 10 omni buses, a number of Mercedes double cabin pick-up trucks and vans.
Additional vehicles will, however, be borrowed from the various government agencies and staff of Parliament, according to Mr Peter Ogwang (NRM, Usuk County), the head of the CPC sub-committee on Transport.
“We have asked other government agencies to assist us with additional cars to support the conference because our budget could not afford all the cars we needed,” Mr Ogwang said.
He added that after the conference, the vehicles will form part of the Parliament fleet.
“We cannot hire cars to facilitate internal movements of members; those vehicles are going to help move MPs to various parts of the country,” Mr Ogwang said.
The cars according to the lawmaker will also be used by other government departments with similar conferences, implying that government will not have to spend tax payers’ money for fresh purchases.
The cars will facilitate movement of the delegates around town and to the selected tour sites across the country.
The cars will also pick up delegates from the airport and take them to various hotels. The delegates start arriving today ahead of the opening of the conference on Sunday.
The 64th CPC meeting opens on September 22 and is expected to end on September 29. The main venue for the Commonwealth Conference is at Commonwealth Resort Hotel, Munyonyo.
The Kampala meeting is expected to run under the theme: “Adaption, engagement, and evolution of Parliaments in a rapidly changing Commonwealth.”
Why new cars
Mr Ogwang said the decision to buy new cars was occasioned by the nature of the conference and what he called “added advantage.”
“The last time government bought cars was during 2007 Chogm and the cars are already worn out and almost written off,” Mr Ogwang said, adding that “we are dealing with heads of Parliaments that include: the Speaker of Canada, Speaker of Australia and the United Kingdom. These are Speakers of Commonwealth countries and we have to accord them all the necessary support for their movements,”
Ahead of the 2012 Inter-Parliamentary Union summit in Kampala, the Parliamentary Commission bought 35 cars at Shs2.5 billion. In 2007, government spent billions of shillings on BMW cars as it prepared to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm).
The procurement process of the BMWs was later discovered to be flawed. Mr Ogwang has, however, assured the country that the procurement process was transparent and promised to account for the Shs18b spent on the 64 cars.
The Commission qualified a number of suppliers for the vehicles, including Toyota Uganda Limited for the Supply of Escort Cars, Kampala Motors Limited for lead cars and Nissan.