“MPs are the chief mourner in their constituency. People expect you to give. MPs need to have the capacity to give,” Abbas said on Thursday while appearing on NBS TV.
He said the public has been misdirected by civil society organisations that claim MPs don’t pay taxes.
“We pay taxes. The MPs’ fuel allowance is given with exactness. Taxing it means the money will not be enough.”
He said each MP pays UGX3.5m as PAYE (Pay As You Earn) every month off their salary and subsistence allowance.
“NGOs demonising MPs are exempted from paying taxes yet they get millions in funding. Maybe this should change.”
He continued: “If you give me money meant for a specific task, why should it be taxed? The bigger component of taxes is being paid as PAYE.”
To the contrary, lawyer David Mushabe, insists MPs need to identify themselves with the population.
“Instead of fuel allowance, let’s give them fuel cards,” he suggested.
According to Mushabe, MPs are exhibiting characteristic of rulers not leaders.
“This needs to stop. The Parliament is already too big. Let them pay taxes. MPs pay taxes on just 30% of their income. They want to walk away with the other 70% without taxes. Unfair.”
He said parliament has been given too much power in that much of what they earn is disguised as allowances.
He observed that MPs think they are the fathers and mothers of orphans and husbands of the widows hence need to give money to their constituents which he termed as bribes.
“Many MPs sit at their homes much of the time. They also spend time sipping on cold drinks and doing business with the Chinese. Many of these MPs stay here in Kampala and send their field boys and girls back to the field to do their work.”
He maintains that many MPs don’t have offices in their constituencies yet they get constituency allowance enough to support an office.
“All people who get paid in this country buy fuel, food etc. off taxed salaries. Why should it be different for MPs?”
But Abbas insists that in Kenya, MPs have a constituency fund which saves MPs from using their own money.