Kampala - Members of Uganda's Parliament caused a storm on Wednesday after it emerged they had demanded a massive raise in their salaries, already 60 times higher than most state employees.
The request also came as the country's chief auditor reportedly complained that senior government officials and MPs had failed to account for millions of dollars in expenses.
“We received a request from the parliamentary commission asking for an annual increment of 11 million Uganda shillings (about $4 500), but we are waiting for the response from the finance ministry,” Uganda's clerk to Parliament, the most senior official at the National Assembly, Jane Kibirige told AFP.
The pay demand provoked angry reactions on social media, with Ugandans pointing out that many civil servants earn a mere $100 a month and public services are woefully inadequate.
“We already earn about 15 million shillings (about $6 000) per month. How can someone propose an increment?” complained MP and senior opposition leader Ken Lukyamuzi.
“This is draining the economy and depriving our people of the services they need. It is outrageous and unwarranted.”
Aside from their salaries, Ugandan MPs also receive various benefits including expenses for travel and the purchase of a personal vehicle.
According to a report in the independent Daily Monitor newspaper, Uganda's chief auditor has also sounded the alarm over $25-million of expenses by senior officials, including $15-million of travel costs by MPs, that had not been properly accounted for.
Uganda has come in for regular criticism over allegations of rampant corruption, and the country is also facing the threat of a cut in foreign aid following the adoption of a tough anti-gay law that would see homosexuals jailed for life.