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Parliament defends budget of 50 vehicles

Paul Yoane Bonju, chairperson of the Specialized Committee of Information, Communication Technology and Postal Services in the Parliament (Photo: Jale Richard)

By Jale Richard

The parliament has defended its decision to allocate some money in the 2017/2018 fiscal year budget to buy fifty vehicles for fifty Chairpersons of the Specialized Committees and their deputies.

This comes after the Chairperson of the newly formed Republican Party of South Sudan, Lewis Anei Madut criticized Parliament for allocating money for vehicles and renovation of parliament building when majority of the people are suffering due to economic crisis and conflict.

The chairperson of the specialized committee of Information, Communication Technology and Postal Services in the parliament, Paul Yoane Bonju said the leader of the Republican Party should have sought more information about the budget before criticizing parliament for allocating money for vehicles and maintenance of the building.

He said the twenty five chairpersons of the specialized committees in parliament, and twenty five of their deputies “lack a single mobility to facilitate their official duties.”

“It is the right of the National Legislature MPs to have the building renovated to operate in a decent environment, and vehicles for the leadership as well as for each member to have mobility to his or her constituency reliably and safely,” Bonju said.

He said in the budget for the fiscal year 2017/2018, there is projection for purchase of vehicles to the TNLA leadership only. “For the 350 MPs, the August house proposed giving them a car loans deductible from their monthly salaries within a given period of time until the loan is recovered,” he said.

However, he said it is up to the individual MPs to deny or accept the car on loan, saying it is not the government buying the cars for the MPs for free. “When the cars are bought, the MPs will repay the money in terms of loans until the government money was recovered,” he noted.

Bonju said the 240 million allocated for renovation of parliament building is not a bad thing because the building is “seriously leaking.”

“This project will not only benefit the current parliament but also generations of parliamentarians to come,” Bonju said. “Would you celebrate seeing your legislators working in a filthy environment?”

He said the South Sudan parliament was the least ranked in the region in terms of privileges and other rights the MPs enjoy because “we have our country at heart since 2005.”

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