The parliamentary commission has procured two new state-of-the-art Toyota Land Cruisers for the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah.
The 2018 4WD vehicles produced by the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota were imported into the country about four months ago, according to sources at Parliament. The sources further informed us that the 5.7-liter (5700cc) vehicles cost the taxpayers about sh1.4b budgeted for in the financial year 2018/19.
“Those vehicles were imported straight from the manufacturer. They are the ultimate expression of luxury. They are the expression of power whether on Ugandan rough roads or in the city,” one of the drivers told us on condition of anonymity.
“They have all inbuilt technologies such as monitors, wireless internet, flat screen, fridge, cameras, and many other super luxurious interior facilities,” he added.
Parliamentary commissioner Peter Ogwang confirmed the purchase of the vehicles last week but said they were to help the speaker and her deputy on transport, especially upcountry.
“The commission agreed to purchase new vehicles for the speakers because the vehicles they were using were bought long ago and had to be replaced,” he said.
Ogwang, however, declined to divulge the cost of the vehicles saying: “I do not have the figures offhead.”
Due to financial constraints, the finance ministry last month issued a moratorium on the purchase of vehicles this financial year except for ministries of defence, State House and the Office of the President.
A source from the finance ministry told us that over sh97b that had been budgeted for the purchase of vehicles by government ministries, departments and agencies was instead cut and rechanneled to enhancement and payment of salaries.
“We have cut all the money that was presented a budget for the purchase of vehicles in the next financial year by all government institutions. This means there will be no purchase of new vehicles in the next financial year,” a highly placed source in the ministry said.
The money was reportedly cut to cater for salary enhancement for administrative science staff in health and education sectors that were not considered when the salary enhancement for scientists was done.
“We were looking for money for the health and education cadres who had not been catered for. So we had to harmonize their pay. We agreed to cut from the purchase of vehicles,” another source said.
According to the budget, the finance ministry spent sh176b on purchase of vehicles in the 2018/19 financial year