Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament and Bukedea District Woman MP Anita Annet Among has spoken out on reports that MPs have hatched a move to increase their salaries amidst hard economic times.
A recent press report indicated that Ugandan president Gen Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni had blocked a move by Parliament to increase legislators’ salaries. The report was based on the president’s decision to return the Parliamentary Pensions (Amendment) Bill 2022 to Parliament for reconsideration because of the proposals that would see the over 500 law makers’ pension contributions’ raised.
While Parliament had passed this bill on September 07, 2022, a month later, on October 13, 2022, Gen Museveni wrote back to Speaker Anita Among informing her that the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development had advised him that the bill that was passed was different from the one that had been given to them for assessment of financial implication. That the one the Ministry had seen did not include amendments to increase their contribution to the government fund from 30 percent to 40 percent.
But as Parliament resumed plenary sessions on return from recess, Speaker Among rebuked The Daily Monitor newspaper for its reporting on the matter. The speaker argued that the Namuwongo-based newspaper had confused salary with pension, adding that it was better for the publication not to publish stories it was not well versed with.
“I have noted incorrect and misleading media reports purporting that MPs had proposed to increase their pay and pension contribution. This is erroneous and may be aimed at creating unnecessary public backlash against otherwise well-meaning legislators. I urge the media to always ensure factual and balanced reporting and always seek clarity on matters for which they have interest,” said Speaker Among.
“There was an Headline in The Daily Monitor newspaper saying that ‘Parliament secretly increases its salary by 40 per cent. Daily Monitor, if you have nothing to write, don’t write about this Parliament. Don’t write about what you don’t know. That was an opaque reporting. You cannot report on what you don’t know. Pension is different from salary.”
The issue of salary increment for MPs has always raised criticism and noise from members of the Ugandan public. Months ago, there were reports that each MP had secretly been given Shs40m. Reports that the speaker and deputy speaker had bought expensive new luxury cars for ceremonies also angered Ugandans. (Read Stories Here and There).