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Kadaga Defends MPs' Foreign Trips

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday vowed to keep a closer eye on all procurements and expenditures for the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference scheduled for March next year in Uganda.
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday vowed to keep a closer eye on all procurements and expenditures for the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference scheduled for  March next year in Uganda.

Kadaga said she will keep a tight watch to guard against any attempts to misuse money; a scenario she fears would cause CHOGM-like investigations.

Kadaga who recently led a high level parliamentary delegation from Uganda to Switzerland to study how that country hosted the last IPU conference, said recent media reports alleging she abused money in travel were false. She said the stories created the impression that the 722 million shillings used for the ten-day tour was a waste.

She told journalists in her chambers at parliament during an impromptu briefing that the IPU conference next year is even bigger than CHOGM because it will bring into the country over 5,000 international delegates to stay here and spend their money to visit various tourist attraction sites in the countryside. She said the conference is one of the reasons for which Uganda was recently named a top tourist destination in the world.

Kadaga defended the 722 million shillings her delegation used in allowances, transport costs, accommodation and other expenses as having been planned and budgeted for three years ago when Uganda was lobbying to host the conference. She said Uganda won after a stiff competition from other developed countries such as Canada because she and her team convinced other delegates that it would be good for Uganda, while it marks 50 years of Independence, to host such a high level conference.

She explained that the various foreign trips that MPs make are all planned for within the parliamentary commission budget in relation to annual planned activities. She said Uganda is a member of several global associations and groupings and is mandated to pursue certain common standards that make members and staff travel to different destinations, for capacity building.

The IPU brings together Speakers, Members of Parliament and staffs from over 150 parliaments across the world who meet for a week to discuss selected topics of development.

In Uganda, the conference will among other topics, focus on Maternal Health, Security, sustainable development and Human Rights.

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