Kadaga names poor performing committees

The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has named committees that have failed to deliver on their constitutional mandate to process Bills within the requisite 45 days. While chairing plenary on Tuesday, 18 September 2018, Kadaga said she was irked by the pace at which business was being conducted in committees leading to backlog of Bills and petitions. “At the start of the Third Session, we indicated that the first meeting would be dedicated to legislation. However, I want to notify committees that they are late,” Kadaga said. Kadaga noted that some committees have delayed Bills and petitions up to two years and have not taken the initiative to seek for extension as prescribed by the Constitution and Rules of Procedure of Parliament. The Speaker named the Budget Committee which is handling the Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2017 and Supplementary Appropriation (No.2) Bill, 2017; the Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development, which is late by 700 days on the Minimum Wage Bill; and the Committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development that has delayed to process the Investment Code Bill by 433 days. “The Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry is late by over 500 days on the Wildlife Bill; the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee is late by 122 days on Security Interests Bill; and the Committee on Natural Resources handling the National Environment Bill is beyond the 45 days,” Kadaga announced. The Speaker added that the Committee on Physical Infrastructure that is considering the Civil Aviation Authority (Amendment) Bill is late by 440 days while the Committee on ICT is late by 400 days on the Data Protection Bill. Kadaga directed that all outstanding Bills be handled before the Independence break in October saying the period thereafter will be dedicated to reports. The Speaker revealed that Parliament had developed an application to track progress of Bills and other business before Parliamentary Committees. The application, according to Kadaga, will act as a tool for the public to monitor legislator’s performance and thus hold them accountable. “The situation is dire; this application will track the work of committees; if you are late, a notice will come out and will be published on the website. There is no more hiding,” she said. During the State of the Nation Address in June, the Speaker announced a phased approach to legislative business. Last week, Parliament passed the Mental Health Bill, which was first tabled in the House in 2014.