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The Ugandan Parliamentary Commission, the contracts committee of the countrys parliament, has awarded a local company, M/S Elite Computers Limited, a contract worth close to UGX1bn (US$386,800) to supply iPads to the countrys 386 members of parliament in an exercise aimed at cutting down on stationery expenditure by three quarters

According to the Independent Monitor, the Parliamentary Commission, which is also in charge of the legislator's welfare, approved the budget for the procurement for which each MP will be given a free high-class computer to use in their work.

The Monitor said seven companies had placed bids to supply the iPads, including Computer Point, MTA Computer, Prime Computer Centre, Olitec International, Lantech (Africa) and Service and Computer Industries. All the six were dropped on technical grounds.

Parliament spokesperson Hellen Kaweesa confirmed the procurement by stating "by having documents delivered electronically on iPads, expenditure on paper in parliament will be reduced and environmental performance and efficiency of work will be improved".

"We are diverting the money we would have spent on stationery to buy iPads for MPs," Kaweesa said. "We no longer have to print bulky Hansards and reports for 386 members. We are also going to do away with delays in the house waiting for reports."

It was reported last year that the Commission spent more than UGX2bn on printing, stationery, photocopying and binding, and the figure will be expected to drop to as low as 383.9 million shillings when the iPads have been acquired and distributed to legislators.

Geoffrey Muleme

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