Parliament approves dissolving of National Records Agency

The National Records and Archives Agency is poised to be dissolved and its functions transferred to the Ministry of Public Service following the passing of the National Records and Archives (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

The National Records and Archives (Amendment) Bill, 2024 was meant to give effect to the Government policy for Rationalization of Government Agencies and Public Expenditure (RAPEX) which was adapted by Cabinet on 22nd February 2O21. 

The Bill was passed on Tuesday 27 February 2024.

Chairperson, Committee of Public Service and Local Government, Hon. Martin Mapenduzi Ojara, reported that much as the National Records and Archives Act was enacted on 15 of June, 2001, the Agency was never operationalised. 

The Act was enacted to provide for the rationalised management of all government and other public records and archives, for the preservation, utilization and disposal of such records and archives, and for other related matters. 

“The functions of the Agency that were envisioned under the Act have been and continue to be carried out by the Ministry of Public Service. Therefore, the intention of the rationalisation of this Agency under the Bill and mainstreaming its functions into the Ministry is appropriate,” said Mapenduzi. 

The Minister of Public Service, Hon. Wilson Muruli Mukasa, said that the staff of the National Records and Archives Agency are part of the Ministry of Public Service. 

“The Agency was never put into operation, the functions have been going on very well. There are no cost implications involved and therefore it is quite in order for the amendment to be carried out,” said Muruli Mukasa. 

Bills on rationalization of several other agencies and departments were however withdrawn, on the basis of absence of Certificates of Financial Implication.  

The Certificate of Financial Implication issued under the Public Finance Management Act indicate the estimates of revenue and expenditure over the period of not less than two years after the coming into effect of the bill when passed. 

Deputy Chairperson, Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Yusuf Mutembuli (NRM, Bunyole East) pointed out that a certificate of financial implication cannot be amended when the Bill has already been introduced. 

“The proper way this can be done is for us to politely withdraw the bills, introduce them in accordance with the law and Rule 117 of our Rules,” he said. 

The Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka said, “The Bills that were here, were presented with Certificates of Financial Implication; albeit they were not sufficient and they are being amended. I am of the considered opinion that the amendment will suffice.”

The sectors whose bills have been withdrawn were lumped up and were expected to be passed in an omnibus manner. 

These include; Works and transport, Trade, Social development, Education, Internal Affairs, Finance, Water and Environment, Agriculture and Tourism. 

Speaker, Anita Among guided that the Bills will be re-tabled by the respective Ministers. 

“The rest of the committees with reports should continue and will advise us when they are ready,” said Among.