Gov't presents Bills to merge its entities

Government has introduced nine Bills before Parliament, aimed at legalising provisions to rationalise agencies in different sectors of the economy.

The Bills will amend existing laws that establish agencies in the sectors of trade, education, finance, internal affairs, water and environment, agriculture, works and transport, social development and tourism.

The Bills were tabled by the respective Ministers in charge of the different sectors, before the House on Tuesday, 20 February 2024.

The Speaker, Anita Among, referred the Bills to respective Committees of Parliament and urged MPs to scrutinise their contents and report back to the House by Tuesday, 27 February 2024.

“Whereas Rule 129(2) of the Rules of Procedure accords Committees 45 days for a Bill, in the interest of considering the budgeting process, we shall embark on these Bills immediately,” said Among.

AUDIO: Speaker Among

The Minister for Public Service, Hon. Wilson Muruli Mukasa, also tabled the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2023 intended to merge the Equal Opportunities Commission with the Uganda Human Rights Commission.

The proposed Bill seeks to rationalise the administrative framework for the performance of the law reform function in Uganda by establishing a department responsible for law reform in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

Legislators, however, raised concerns over the tabling of the Bill pending an update on the operationalisation of the Constitutional Review Commission.

Hon. Asuman Basalirwa (JEEMA, Bugiri Municipality) said Parliament previously stayed matters related to constitution amendments while tasking the Executive to establish the Commission.

“If we allow this Bill, Parliament will be approbating and reprobating at the same time. Madam Speaker, should we proceed with this particular Bill in the absence of the undertaking we made of a Constitutional Review Commission?” Basalirwa asked.

AUDIO: Hon. Basalirwa

The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi, noted the need for comprehensive consideration of the Constitution amendments, in light of proposals made by some Members of Parliament to amend the Constitution.

The Attorney General, Hon. Kiryowa Kiwanuka, said the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Norbert Mao, has already received 73 proposals on amendment of the Constitution, and continues to hold engagements with MPs.

“He has instructed the Uganda Law Reform Commission to collect these proposals and look at their effect on other parts of the Constitution. The process is being undertaken and we shall come back to the House with a report at the earliest,” said Kiryowa Kiwanuka.

AUDIO: Hon. Kiryowa Kiwanuka

Five other Bills were also tabled for their first reading including the National Tribunal Bill, 2023, the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment), 2024 and the Karamoja Development Agency (Repeal) Bill, 2024.

Also before Parliament is the Uganda National Information Technology Authority, Uganda (Amendment) Bill, 2024 and the National Records and Archives (Amendment) Bill, 2024.