Opposition hits out at govt for sending 370 officials to Dubai

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja (centre) with Health Minister Dr Jane Aceng, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem and Uganda’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Mr Zaake Kibedi, with the President of Sri Lanka, Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe, and other delegates in Dubai at the weekend. Photo /Courtesy of OPM X handle

What you need to know:

  • The Opposition demands accountability on the delegates’ trip.

The Opposition has decried the government’s extravagance and misuse of taxpayers’ money to facilitate 375 delegates to attend the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.

During a press conference by the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) faction based at Katonga Road, its secretary general, Mr Harold Kaija, castigated the government for not walking the talk on frugality. 

“The cheapest air ticket is at $377  (Shs1.4m)multiplied by 375 delegates in addition to their per diem for 12 days. The government has spent more than Shs10 billion on a two-week event,” he said.
Mr Kaija added that the construction of an average school in Uganda would cost Shs700 million and the money spent on the Dubai delegates could have been used to build at least 10 schools. 
According to the Circular Standing Instruction No. 6 of 2018, public officers and political leaders are entitled to allowances while on official duty both within and outside Uganda.

In regards to the COP28 trip, public officials are entitled to per night, safari day, and out-of-pocket allowances. The Prime Minister is entitled to Shs3,330,000 per night at a dollar rate of 3,700, Shs370,000 as safari day allowances, and 20 percent of the night allowance as out-of-pocket allowance, which is Shs666,000. The total expenditure on the Prime Minister’s allowances for 12 days of the COP28 would be around Shs52,392,000.

Cabinet ministers are entitled to Shs3,145,000 as night allowance, Shs370,000 as day allowance, and Shs629,000 as out-of-pocket allowance, which amounts to Shs298,368,000 for the six cabinet ministers if they spend 12 days at COP28.
The State ministers are four at the COP28. They earn Shs2,664,000 as night allowance, Shs370,000 as day allowance, and Shs6393,600 as the out-of-pocket allowance each. In total, Shs171,206,400 will be expended on them.

The Members of Parliament are entitled to Shs2,664,000 in allowances per day, which amounts to about Shs31,968,000 for 12 days spent at the COP28 per lawmaker.  About 1.9 billion could be spent on the 58 lawmakers at COP28.
And the total amount of money government might spend  on some of the delegates is about Shs2,4 billion in allowances.
Tororo North County MP Geofrey Ekanya (FDC), said Uganda did not have to send hundreds of delegates to the COP28.

“I am going to move a motion in Parliament saying the government should not send more than five representatives to such conferences. I also suggest that the presidential convoy is reduced to reduce expenditure,” Mr Ekanya, who is the treasurer on the FDC team in Najjanankumbi,  told this publication by telephone yesterday.