Parliament Scorecard Wanting

Despite drawing a huge pay cheque, MPs’ performance in the third year of their term is far from impressive, according to the 201415 National Budget Framework Paper (NBFP).

The paper shows that Parliament planned to hold 950 standing committee meetings, organise 92 oversight committee field visits and produce 40 plenary reports.

But by the time of writing the paper, MPs had held only 109 standing committee meetings, 841 short of the target. Of the planned 92 field visits, only 12 had been conducted. MPs were also lagging behind on plenary reports, producing 24 out of the planned 40.

In the current financial year 201314, Parliament was allocated Shs 237.5bn. It has asked for an extra Shs 43bn next financial year, although Finance recently said there was no money.

201415 targets:

In the coming financial year, Parliament appears to have set less ambitious targets, with only 620 standing committee meetings planned – which is 35 per cent fewer than the current period. The House is expected to generate 15 plenary reports, down from the 40 they wanted to produce for the current year.

Under legislation, Parliament plans to pass 24 bills, up from 11 this year debate 66 motions, and adopt 48 reports. It will also handle 20 questions for oral answers and dispose of 52 ministerial statements and 14 petitions as well as holding 107 plenary sittings.

Funding gap:

The NBFP says that the Parliamentary Commission’s budget is not fully funded, with gaps such as the Shs 43.067bn on the wage bill. There are also gaps of Shs 21.025bn and Shs 46.431bn on the nonwage and development budgets.

“The funding gap under the non-wage allocation is explained by an increase in 30% government contribution to the members’ pension scheme as a result of consolidation of members’ salaries increase in allowances for the recently-promoted staff and the planned external recruitment of additional staff, which exercise is ongoing and, the increase in members foreign trips resulting into increase on travel abroad expenditure,” the paper says.

Bad timing:

Asked about the poor scorecard, Parliament’s Public Relations Manager Helen Kawesa said it was not yet time for a proper assessment.

“The financial year has not ended Parliament has not been called off it’s ongoing until June 2014. So, it would be very unfair to evaluate the MPs’ performance when we still have some two months to end it,” she said on Monday.

“Parliament must be given time because there are some emergencies which are not planned yet they need to be handled by Parliament, thus affecting the Parliament’s performance,” she added.

Source : The Observer

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