Speaker, of Parliament Anita Among has confirmed to the House that the Parliamentary Commission held a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni in which they resolved to have a ‘One Stop Centre’ to accommodate offices of legislators.
Among made the statement during the Thursday plenary sitting where a parliamentary commissioner, Solomon Silwany raised a procedural matter regarding offices for MPs.
He said that one year after the swearing in of Members of Parliament, there are still legislators who do not have offices.
“I raise this on the floor of parliament because we have discussed it several times and it is not working and it is parliament where it can be solved. Parliament is renting for MPs in several places…Kingdom House, Queen’s Chambers and every day you find MPs crossing roads,” said the Bukooli Central MP.
He added that the absence of offices continues yet President Yoweri Museveni guided them that they should start a process of getting their own premises and save the rent.
According to Silwany, Parliament spends sh 8 billion in Kampala Kingdom building rent for MPs office and sh 3.9 billion on Queen’s Chambers building rent. Kingdom Kampala is located along Nile Avenue and is about 400 meters from the Parliamentary building while Queen’s Chambers is looked at Parliamentary Avenue.
In response to Silwany’s statement, Among noted the meeting held by the Commission with Museveni in which a ‘One Stop Centre’ was resolved to accommodate offices for MPs.
Without divulging details of the matter, Among said that the only thing that Parliament needs is to get a clearance as to whether that should happen.
Jackson Kafuuzi, the Deputy Attorney General says that as soon as his chambers get a request from the Clerk to Parliament office, they shall work on it.
In May last year, URN reported a decision by Parliament to rent space at Kingdom Kampala building for Sh18 billion to accommodate some Members of Parliament for two years as they wait for the completion of the new chambers.
It was then reported that 323 of the 529 Members of Parliament in the 11th Parliament would be housed in one of the wings of the Kingdom Kampala building. The remaining 206 MPs would remain in the Parliamentary main building, Queens’s chambers and Development House.
The main building mainly houses committee chairpersons, their vice, office of the Speaker and Deputy, and the 20 departments of Parliament. About 100 MPs are housed at the main Parliament building.
The former Assistant Director Communications and Public Affairs (CPA), Helen Kawesa, then said that parliament was to spend sh 800 million on rent monthly, renting space on the Kingdom Kampala building.
The figure translates to Sh9 billion per year and Sh18 billion for two years, which was the projected timeframe for the completion of the new Parliamentary chambers.
The Sh 206 billion chambers being constructed by ROKO was expected to host 600 members of parliament.
The building was meant to be completed early 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic affected the construction works.
In its budget for last financial year 2021/2022, Parliament approved Sh 13 billion for rent.
This meant that Sh 9 billion would be used for that financial year for office space at the Kingdom Kampala building, while the remaining four billion can be used to pay rent for other premises.