MPs Greenlight Extra sh83.335 Billion for Parliamentary Commission

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Members of Parliament on the budget committee have voted to approve an additional shillings 83.335 billion for the Parliamentary Commission, addressing a projected budget shortfall. The approval, outlined in the 2024/25 National Budget Framework Paper (NBFP) recently presented by Finance State Minister Henry Musasizi, comes in the midst of economic challenges and ongoing scrutiny of government spending.

Reports indicate that in the current fiscal year, the Parliamentary Commission faced a budgetary shortfall of shillings 67.619 billion related to legislative oversight and representation functions. Part of the approved funds will also be directed towards covering the expenses of foreign benchmarking trips for lawmakers.

The budget report highlights the need for additional funding to enable Members of Parliament to participate in regional and international parliamentary activities, enhancing their skills for improved performance. The budget committee has also approved an additional shillings 8.176 billion to facilitate committees in undertaking Parliamentary oversight functions efficiently during the 2024/25 financial year.

Each MP currently receives shillings 50,000 per committee sitting, along with allowances for refreshments and escorts. Committee meetings outside Parliament, known as inland field oversight visits, attract a per diem of shillings 400,000 per MP per day, with foreign oversight trips incurring per diem costs of $720 (about shillings 2.68 million) per MP.

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However, committee funding challenges have been highlighted by outgoing Government Assurances committee chairperson Betty Nambooze Bakireke, who described her tenure as challenging due to funding issues. The committee faced difficulties with staff payment and other expenses, impacting its ability to fully utilize its budget for foreign travel and benchmarking trips.

Chris Obore, the Parliament communications director, attributed the budget constraints to measures implemented during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent economic downturns. Obore emphasized that activities would resume when the budget situation improves, and reprioritization is necessary given the current financial constraints.

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