Minister, AG table employment and law revision bills

Government has tabled before Parliament, a bill that seeks to amend the Employment Act, 2006 to provide for recruitment agencies to streamline the process of recruitment of employees for engagement abroad.

The Government bill also seeks to introduce a clause on employment of migrant workers within Uganda and regulation of jobs which may not be offered to non-citizens.

It will also require employers to put measures in place that prevent sexual harassment at the workplace.

The Employment (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2022 was tabled by the Minster for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon. Betty Amongi, on Friday, 23 December 2022.

While chairing the House sitting, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa referred the bill to Parliament's Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development for scrutiny.

The bill comes two months after a similar Private Member's Bill was tabled by Workers MP, Hon. Margaret Rwabushaija, which had been scheduled for second reading on the day.

The Deputy Speaker suspended the second reading of the bill.

“We want the committee to meet and reconcile the two bills because there are provisions which could not be catered for in the Private Member's Bill, due to limitations under Article 93 of the Constitution retarding financial implications,” Tayebwa said.

The mover of the Private Member's Bill, Hon. Agnes Kunihira (NRM, Workers’ Representative), raised concern that the Government bill did not take into consideration, the issue of casualisation of labour.

The Chairperson of the House Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon. Iddi Isabirye, noted that efforts made to reach the line minster while considering the Private Member's Bill, were futile.

The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament called on ministers to always offer necessary support to Members of Parliament who bring before Parliament, Private Member's Bills.

Hon. Sarah Opendi (NRM, Tororo District Woman Rep.) reiterated the need for ministers to support Private Member's Bills because they are made in the interest of the public and issues that affect them at community level.

The Private Member's Bill authored by Hon. Agnes Kunihira, was first passed in the 10th Parliament.

It, however, lapsed according to Rule 235(1) of the Rules of Procedure, which provides that a bill, petition or other business or a committee lapses with the term of Parliament.

In a related development, the Office of the Attorney General has tabled before Parliament, the Law Revision (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2022.

The Bill was tabled by the Deputy Attorney General, Hon. Jackson Kafuuzi.

The Deputy Speaker referred the bill the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for further processing.

The bill seeks to repeal 90 Acts of Parliament, harmonise the use of the currency point system in all laws of Uganda as well as modify law fees, costs and values in specified Acts.

It further seeks to amend nine Acts, to reflect the decisions of the Constitutional and Supreme courts.

Hon. Asuman Basalirwa (JEEMA, Bugiri Municipality) who intended to move a Private Member's Bill with the same title, expressed concern that the Government bill did not cater for some interests raised in the Private Member's Bill.

He added that the Government bill has no amendments on the Penal Code Act, the Public Order Management Act and the Police Act, which issues are judicial pronouncements.

“Unfortunately, the courts are still charging people under laws that were declared unconstitutional but are still in our law books,” Basalirwa said.

The Deputy Speaker asked Basalirwa to meet with the Attorney General and Parliament's General Counsel, to harmonise the issues raised. “If we fail, we shall get a solution for our Member, as presiding officers,” Tayebwa added.