A resolution of the second ‘People’s Parliament’ has urged government to up the education and health sectors budget to 15 percent.
In a unanimously carried Motion moved by ‘Leader of the Opposition’ Michael Muramira, the ‘Legislators for a day’ said increasing the sectors’ budget to 15 percent is consistent with diplomatic conventions to which Uganda is party.
“…that government increases national budget of the health and education sectors from 8.5 percent and 11 percent to at least 15 percent as agreed at the Abuja and Addis Ababa declarations,” partly read the resolution.
‘MP’ Rinda Wilson said whereas education is a constitutional right, teachers’ pay should be enhanced “so that they can [implement] the right to education.”
Ms Nansamba Ruth, an ‘MP’ from Mukono, slammed government for extending high class medical treatment to its officials, saying the resources should instead be used to finance the national health infrastructure.
‘Speaker’ Kevin Ouma Wanjala hailed Parliament for conceiving the arrangement, saying it is important in “broadening the frontiers of democracy.”
“I want to thank our special guest, the Speaker for organizing this event. I am sure we have also learnt a lot from her speech,” said Ouma.
The ‘Public Parliament,’ the crown of the Parliament Week activities, offers random members of the public an opportunity to exercise the roles of MPs for a day.
From registration, which is marks the ascension of the public to Parliament, to election of Speaker and leaders of the Government Business and the Opposition; a mock plenary seals the activities.
In remarks to launch the mock plenary session, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said opening Parliament to the public stems from the 2012 Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) meeting in Kampala, which recommended bridging gaps between citizens and the Legislature.
“It is a very important channel of communication between you and us. In 2012 at the IPU, we resolved to bring Parliament closer to the people. I assure you that your resolutions will be considered [in the ongoing budgeting process], said Kadaga.
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said the Public Parliament model will be studied by government for possible universal adoption, promising to “keenly follow the submissions.”
“We shall further study this model which allows ordinary people to experience how government is indeed run. We will keenly follow the discussions and also note the resolutions coming directly from the people of Uganda,” said Rugunda.
Leader of the Opposition Winfred Kiiza (FDC, Kasese) said citizens should keenly follow the budgeting process to pin government on key commitments.
“You should keep government in check to ensure that the allocations given to different Ministries reach the Ugandans. During the process of implementation [of the budget], you will realise that government gives commitments that are sometimes never met.
Before handing over to ‘Speaker’ Ouma, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah conducted the session, taking the new ‘Parliament’ into the know-how of conducting business.
This year’s Parliament Week, themed under “Parliament; the voice of the people,” attracted the ordinary citizens and high-ranking officials, including President Yoweri Museveni, who toured the departmental exhibition stalls on Wednesday 24th January.