MPs Call for UGX 38 Billion for Kings’ Salaries and Palaces

Members of Parliament have urged the government to allocate UGX 38 billion for the salaries of traditional leaders and the construction of palaces across various regions. The 17 gazetted traditional leaders are each entitled to a monthly salary of UGX 60 million.

Flavia Kabahenda, chairperson of the Committee on Gender, Labour, and Social Development, proposed that an additional UGX 4.3 billion be allocated to the Iteso, Tieng Adhola, Buruli, and Rwenzururu kingdoms to build palaces.

Kabahenda highlighted that the annual budget requirement for traditional leaders’ emoluments is UGX 32 billion. However, only UGX 840 million has been provided, resulting in a deficit of UGX 31.3 billion.

“The Ministry of Finance should allocate UGX 31.330 billion for the implementation of Cabinet’s directive on emoluments to the 17 gazetted traditional and cultural leaders,” she stated.

Additionally, the Ministry of Finance should provide UGX 17.2 billion for the construction of palaces for the Iteso, Tieng Adhola, Buruli, and Rwenzururu kingdoms as per the President’s directive.

The Constitution under Article 246 recognizes traditional and cultural leaders and exempts their privileges and benefits from taxation. These duties and responsibilities are financed through central government funds.

Privileges include an official car, support car, fees for two biological children up to university level, first-class air ticket, palace refurbishment, and an annual unconditional tax-free honorarium.

Usuk County MP Bosco Okiror supported the allocation of funds for the construction of traditional leaders’ palaces but suggested that funds for the Iteso Palace should be managed under the Ministry of Teso Affairs.

“For cultural institutions of Iteso and Kumam, they should be delisted from this and brought under the Ministry of Teso Affairs,” Okiror proposed.

However, Manjiya County MP John Baptist Nambeshe expressed surprise at Parliament’s recommendation, pointing out that the Bugisu cultural institution was excluded from the list of those to receive funds for palace construction.

“Shs17.2 billion is substantial enough to extend it to all these palaces, including Bugisu cultural palace,” Nambeshe stated.

He reminded the government that Bugisu’s entitlement is based on pledges made by the President regarding the construction of the palace.

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