The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, has pledged to address the issue of food and living allowances for government-sponsored students to match with the current economic situation in the country.
The pledge followed a request from Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe asking Parliament to review the food allowances from the current Shs4,500 to Shs10,000 a day per student.
Prof. Nawangwe who led a Makerere University delegation to Parliament today (Wednesday) said these allowances were set over 20 years ago and have been eaten up by inflation.
In his response, Hon. Tayebwa pledged to look into the issue of funding for Makerere University, giving priority to the food allowances of government sponsored students.
“I will look into the issue of funding. When you look at Shs4,500 given to each student, it is very little and cannot be enough for three meals a day even if one is eating a Rolex or “Kikomando,” Tayebwa said.
Meanwhile, Mr Tayebwa wondered why Makerere University, which is the top institution in the country, is producing less students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
He tasked the managers to work toward doubling the number of engineers, doctors and architects among other students it is producing annually to match with the current needs of the country.
Hon. Tayebwa also revealed that Parliament is planning to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Makerere University that will allow experts from the university to support Parliament in the fulfilment of its legislation.
“Makerere University experts should be able to give us independent opinions and analysis of issues that will be discussed in Parliament. They should also be able to appear before various committees to give their expertise,” Mr Tayebwa said.
Tayebwa also revealed that a special motion will be made to celebrate Makerere University at 100 years as one of the ways to appreciate the contribution of the university to the development of the country.
He said Parliament will move a motion on October 5, the eve of the century celebrations and instructed the government Chief Whip to coordinate the teams that will move the motion and second it.
In his response, the government Chief Whip, Denis Obua said Parliament has several legislators who were former Makerere University guild presidents and these should be in position to move and second the motion better.
He said these should be able to share with us their journey and leadership while at Makerere and the well-wishers shall come in.
Makerere kick-started the century celebrations last year with the climax expected on 6th October at the university’s main campus in Kampala.