Uganda: MPs receive iPads on Thursday

AGORA moderator's picture

The 375 legislators will tomorrow (Thursday) receive ipads in what Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, contends will be a major policy shift tailored to saving parliament colossal sums on stationery.

The ipads, whose purchase was sanctioned by the parliamentary commission last year has been a matter of heated debate, with some members of the public  questioning the rationale of spending over sh1b to purchase ipads for people  earning hefty salaries and perks.

“At 9 o’clock, you will get your ipads and then onwards, no more papers. Everything will be online,” Kadaga communicated on Tuesday, to foot stumping from animated legislators across the usually fractious political divide.

The development is set to see the Ugandan parliament follow Rwanda whose parliament has already embraced cutting edge technology with ipads for its legislators and electronic voting system.

The government of Uganda, with bilateral assistance of South Korea is in the process of implementing e-governance in all ministries and government departments with the aim of eliminating unwieldy bureaucracy which tends to hamstring service delivery.

Uganda expends over sh30b on courier services and stationery annually, although attempts to compute how much money parliament spends on stationery is tedious process because every sessional and standing committee is allocated a budget for stationery.

The parliamentary committee on Information Technology has over the years advised government to roll out e-governance, with committee Vice Chairperson, Vicent Bagiire, always questioning the rationale of expending over sh30b on stationery and courier services, yet the budget for ICT ministry has never gone beyond sh6b. 

SOURCE: Newvision Dec. 4 2013: