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MPs ‘defend’ their $25,000 health insurance

Authors: Koang Pal | Joakino Francis | Published: Friday, March 6, 2020

Chairperson of the Information Committee, Hon. Paul Yoane on May 14, 2019 speaking to Eye Radio [Photo| Eye Radio| Joakino Francis]

The $25,000 each Member of Parliament recently received as health insurance is a constitutional right for all lawmakers, the Chairperson for the Information Committee has said.

Last week, the news of this angered members of the public, some of whom questioned the move, asking why the government keeps offering MPs money when the civil servants continue to suffer ‘no salary’.

Advocates Without Borders – a group of human rights lawyers – criticized the financial offer to MPs, describing it as a joke and abuse of public funds.

However, Hon. Paul Yoane, says the money they received recently was already planned for in the 2019/2020 national budget.

“The administration of transitional legislature didn’t grab this money from somebody, from anywhere, but from its own budget and it was done transparently,” Hon. Yoane told the media on Thursday.

The MP, who represents Yei River area, went on to say that a number of parliamentarians succumbed to preventable diseases since they could not afford to meet the treatment cost.

Hon. Yoane argued that many representatives have been suffering from some diseases, including diabetes and eye problems.

“In 2019 alone, we lost almost 20 members of the national legislature to preventable diseases,” he claimed.

Lawmakers in the neighboring countries get well paid. In Kenya, each Member of Parliament gets over $10,000; in Uganda, $6,000; in Tanzania, $5,000; and in Rwanda, $4,000 per month.

While in South Sudan, an MP receives 9,000 Pounds, an amount equivalent to about $37.

However, many argue that regional MPs are independent of their executives, they formulate laws, and hold government officials accountable.

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