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Nankabirwa, Committee chairpersons disagree on Constituency COVID-19 taskforce

Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa and Committee Chairpersons in parliament have disagreed on the proposed creation of Constituency Covid-19 taskforces with the latter pushing for the revival of the Constituency Development Fund-CDF.

Nankabirwa met 40 Members of Parliament chairing different Parliament Committees on Friday in a meeting which lasted for hours. Speaking to journalists shortly after the closed door meeting, Nankabirwa described their interface as part of the quarterly sessions she holds with the committee leadership to discuss issues regarding legislation and pending Bills that need to be passed.

She however revealed that besides the business on the agenda, MPs raised concern about the Constituency Covid-19 Taskforce recently communicated by President Yoweri Museveni as one of the issues he agreed upon with a select committee of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party Parliamentary Caucus leaders.

Museveni posted about the proposal on his official Facebook and Twitter accounts saying it is meant to divert pressure from individual MPs. Following the President’s communication, the NRM Parliamentary caucus leadership led by the Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa reportedly drew a budget of Shillings 50 billion to finance the taskforce.

This comes amidst a disagreement between MPs and Museveni over the Shillings 10 billion disbursed to legislators for coronavirus activities in their constituencies. The President said that the act was immoral and a trap for MPs. Given the controversy surrounding the Shillings 10 billion, Nankabirwa says the Committee chairpersons opposed the proposed creation of the Constituency Covid-19 taskforce

Nankabirwa said they were looking for ways of divert pressure from MPs by their constituents.

She however, said the Committee Chairpersons renewed debate for the revival of the Constituency Development Fund that was scrapped in 2011 saying it would be help them handle pressures in their constituencies.

But Nankabirwa said that their meeting couldn’t resolve on the issue of the Constituency Development Fund since it is pending a decision by Parliament.

Last year, Members of Parliament tasked government to present a Bill on the Constituency Development Fund-CDF. The Fund, first introduced in 2005 by President Museveni was scrapped in 2011 due to the lack of a supportive legal framework and accountability by MPs.

Its introduction in 2005 was due to arguments by the then MPs that they were overwhelmed with requests from their constituents to contribute to different activities ranging from medical bills, building schools and funeral costs among others.

Government then allocated Shillings 10 million for each MP every year. However, the legislators were expected to account for the funds. However in August 2011, the Parliamentary Commission scrapped the fund due to lack of accountability by the legislators.

The Commission also argued that Parliament would save up to Shillings 3.7 billion annually to finance other projects such as the recently constructed multi-billion parking lot. Nankabirwa said that she was going to continue consulting other MPs from the ruling party in regard to the Constituency Covid-19 Task Force.

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