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MPs reject proposal to contribute UGX 2M each towards Covid-19 vaccine purchase

Deputy Speaker Anita Among advised all MPs interested in contributing the Shillings 2million approach the COVID-19 National Task Force.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Parliament have rejected a proposal to deduct Shillings 2million from their salaries to support the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines. On Tuesday, Esther Afoyo-chan, a Member of the Parliamentary Commission proposed during plenary that each legislator contributes Shillings 2million million to help the government procure vaccines for learners between 2 and 18 years of age.

There are 529 MPs in the Eleventh Parliament. At least Shillings 1billion would be raised with each legislator contributing Shillings 2million. During his latest televised address on COVID-19, President Yoweri Museveni revealed that the government is considering vaccinating learners as one of the measures to ensure safety and re-opening of schools.

In line with the government’s proposal, Afoyo-chan, the Zombo Woman MP proposed that each legislator contributes Shillings 2million from their salary towards the procurement of Pfizer vaccine that is recommended for vaccinating children. Citing the Bible, she said that even God demands a 10 percent tithe and urged other MPs to part with Shillings 2million each from their salaries.

However, several legislators could not have any of this. They took to the floor of parliament and opposed the proposal. Jane Pacuto, the Pakwach Woman MP said that such a matter should not even come on the floor of parliament.

Jonathan Odur, the Erute South MP said the proposal contravenes the Employment Act of Uganda, adding that the Parliamentary Commission should ensure that MPs are protected. “What she is rising is actually unlawful, that MPs emoluments cannot be deducted contrary to the Employment Act,” he said.

Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda, the Kira Municipality MP said that the proposal was not before parliament as required by the Rules of Procedure. The rules required a motion to be tabled for such a proposal.

He recounted that during the tenth Parliament, the former Speaker Rebecca Kadaga asked MPs to contribute towards the Nsambya Hospital Cancer facility, something that some legislators did not take in good faith.

Ssemujju said that parliament then resolved to avail consent forms for individual MPs to sign allowing the deduction of their salaries for the cause. He said that the same procedure can apply to the COVID-19 vaccines.

In her ruling, Deputy Speaker Anita Among said that all MPs interested in contributing the Shillings 2million should approach the COVID-19 National Task Force.

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