By Daily Nation
The Ugandan parliament is to spend about a billion shillings (about $377,000) on iPad tablet computers for MPs.
Parliamentary officials say apart from bringing MPs up to speed with evolution in technology, they hope to save money in the long run by cutting on printing and other stationery expenses.
“They (iPads) would be Parliament property but when someone uses one for five years you don’t expect it to be in shape for use by another legislator for another five years,” commissioner Elijah Okupa told the Daily Monitor.
“They will indirectly become their personal property because of depreciation,” he added.
Figures from Parliament show that the government spent at least Shs32 billion over the last two financial years on computer supplies, printing, stationery, photocopying, binding, postage, courier and other communication costs.
They hope to save money by moving to paper-less operations in the House. For instance, any document from the Finance ministry has to be photocopied into almost 400 copies for each MP and other Parliament officials. These will now be e-mailed to the MPs instead. “It is a necessary tool of work, and we need them as MPs so that we avoid the amount of paper work which is always put in our pigeon holes,” Busiro East MP Medard Segona [DP] told the Daily Monitor.
Many MPs are not familiar with the gadgets, sources said, and the firm that will be contracted to supply them is expected to receive a training contract as well. “We can mitigate these costs and the only way is to use iPads now which are cheaper by the way if only members are trained on how to use them,” Mr Segona said.