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Thursday, Aug 24th

Uganda MPs to get Apple iPads

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Uganda's 375 parliamentary members will soon ditch pen and paper for the latest versions of Apple’s iPad tablets.

But the initiative could cost taxpayers over $300,000

The parliamentary commission has decided to use funds from its budget for stationery to purchase the iPads, a move they say could increase efficiency.

According to the committee, this is a cost cutting measure since parliament spends a lot of money on stationery every year.

Each of Uganda's 25 parliamentary committees is allocated $3,800 for stationery annually, totalling $95,000 per year on committees only.

“We are in an information technology age and parliament cannot afford to ignore this if it is to engender efficiency. I believe it is a worthwhile investment because it will reduce costs on stationery,” said member of parliament, David Bahati.

“These iPads will be the property of individual MPs as a form of facilitation. They can use them to carry out quick research during plenary sessions in order to make meaningful contributions to debates,” parliamentary commissioner Emmanuel Dombo told daily newspaper, New Vision.

Uganda’s parliament recently amended the rules of procedure to allow MPs access to the chambers with phones, laptops and iPads.

This is the second attempt to buy parliamentarians iPads. Last year, a move by the Uganda Communications Commissions and the ICT committee of Parliament to buy MPs iPads was opposed and rejected by the opposition citing conflict of interest.

Members of the opposition argued that accepting iPads purchased by a government agency could influence parliament's role as a watchdog.

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