Parliament helicopter not priority – Civil society

There has been rumors that the Parliament of Uganda is planning to buy a helicopter for Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. File Photo.
There has been rumors that the Parliament of Uganda is planning to buy a helicopter for Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. File Photo.

Members of the Civil society Budget Advocacy group have condemned future plans of parliament to acquire a helicopter.

Last month Parliament proposed plans to buy a helicopter that would be used by the speaker to facilitate her travels, however this plan has not been approved and it is not in any plan soon according to parliament.

The CSOs argue that the chopper should not be a priority even if parliament is only proposing it for the future. They says Uganda is suffering from food crisis, medicine scarcity, low numeration of civil servants among others that should first be prioritized.

Speaking during a press conference today at the Uganda Debt Network offices in Ntinda, Julius Mukunda, the coordinator CSBAG stated that parliament plans to purchase a helicopter Bus EC-145  9-seater which will cost about UGX19.9 billion shillings, according to table V3.2 of the sector budget framework. The CSOs note that for the proposal to appear on the budget framework paper, it means parliament is planning to do it.

He says the argument that the helicopter will build the institutional capacity of parliament to undertake its constitutional mandate does not hold as Uganda as a country is suffering numerous challenges.

He says this money can save several mothers and provide for more drugs in health facilities.

According to Cissy Kagaba, the Executive Director Anti corruption coalition Uganda, in order to graduate into a middle income by 2020, the government and parliament should look at their priorities well as this will not help to build the economy but deplete it.

She says parliament should look at building their actual voters and not thinking about its self. Kagaba also notes that the budget for the helicopter could meet the financial obligation that parliament is choking with. She says for instance parliament needs an extra 284bn  to fund outputs not accommodated  in the availed ceiling.

They argue that the helicopter is not a priority though it is something necessary in the future. The parliament of Uganda has a budget of 442.328bn for financial year 2017/2018.

Attempts to speak to Parliament Publicist Chris Obore were futile as his phone went unanswered.

– Uganda Radio Network