Committees given three week deadline to report

Parliament has granted a three weeks extension to committees with unfinished business to conclude.

Deputy Speaker Anita Among, during a plenary sitting on Thursday, 03 February 2022, granted the extension to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources and the Committee on Physical Infrastructure.

Ideally, committees are expected to conclude any bills before them within 45 days.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs is studying a report on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, following a motion by Bardege-Layibi Division MP Hon Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, urging government to ratify the treaty.

The committee chairperson, Hon Norah Bigirwa (NRM, Bullisa district), said they needed more time to receive views from critical government institutions they had not interfaced with.

"The most critical ministries have not been dealt with and yet their input is very critical if we are to have a report on this matter," said Bigirwa.

The Chairperson of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Dr Emmanuel Otaala, asked the House for another 90 days to process the Mining and Minerals Bill, 2021.

He cited a tight committee schedule between November 2021 and January 2022 that included scrutiny of the Budget Framework Paper, which curtailed the committee from reporting back on the Mining and Minerals Bill in the stipulated time.

He added that the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development that is sponsoring the Bill, is prioritising the amendment of the Electricity Bill, 2022.

"Very soon we shall enter the budgeting cycle that will require my committee to scrutinise the Ministerial Policy Statements for two Ministries and five agencies. That is why we need much more time," Otaala said.

The Deputy Speaker declined the request for 90-day extension and tasked Dr Otaala’s committee to finalise the Mining and Minerals Bill within three weeks.

Hon Robert Kasolo, the Deputy Chairperson of the Physical Infrastructure Committee, justified the need to extend consultations on the Physical Planners Registration Bill, 2021.

He told the House that the committee had two bill's before it, including the Landlord and Tenant Bill, 2021, which they prioritised with an extension to its timeline, presented to the House. The bill was passed on Tuesday, 01 February 2022.

"The committee has embarked on considering the Physical Planners Registration Bill, 2021 and requests for more three weeks to enable it finish its task and present the report for consideration why the House," said Kasolo.

The requests for extension follows the Deputy Speaker's directive to all chairpersons to present bills before them by Thursday, 10 February 2022.

Among gave the directive during the Wednesday, 02 February 2022 plenary sitting, adding that of nine such bills, only two were within the 45 day time frame.

She also told the House sitting that action could be taken against chairpersons who failed to meet the deadline.