MPs kick out Bills on merging of agencies

3
MPs kick out Bills on merging of agencies
MPs kick out Bills on merging of agencies

Africa-Press – Uganda. The government was on February 27 forced to withdraw multiple Bills meant to effect the rationalisation and merger of agencies following strong opposition from a section of legislators who cited the absence of proper certificates of financial implication.

The government on February 20 tabled several Bills that were expected to be passed today to effect the rationalisation already approved by the Executive.

The Public Finance Management Act, 2015, requires that every Bill introduced in Parliament shall be accompanied by a certificate of financial implication issued by the minister of Finance, indicating the estimates of revenue and expenditure over not less than two years after the coming into effect of the bill when passed.

Speaker of Parliament Anita Among, said a “mess up” on the certificates was realised after the Bills tabled on February 20 were sent to the committees. She told the House she had received only three fully processed Bills with certificates.

These are; the Uganda National Information Technology Authority, Uganda (Amendment) Bill, 2024, the National Records and Archives (Amendment) Bill, 2024, and the Karamoja Development Agency (Repeal) Bill, 2024.

The Bills withdrawn include; The Rationalisation of Government Agencies (Education Sector) Amendment Bill 2024, The Rationalisation of Government Agencies (Trade Sector) Amendment Bill 2024, The Rationalisation of Government Agencies (Works and Transport sector) Amendment Bill, 2024, The Rationalisation of Government Agencies (Social development sector) Amendment Bill, 2024, The Rationalisation of Government Agencies (Tourism Sector) Amendment Bill 2024 and The Rationalisation of Government Agencies (Internal Affairs sector) Amendment Bill 2024.

The others are; The Rationalisation of Government Agencies(Finance sector) Amendment Bill 2024, The Rationalisation of Government Agencies(Water and environment sector) Amendment Bill, 2024, and The Rationalisation of Government Agencies (Agriculture sector) Amendment Bill, 2024. These now have to be tabled afresh, but the government remained non-committal on when this would be done. The planned full-day sitting was adjourned midway, after the passing of only one Bill.

“The Bills with defective certificates of financial implication are withdrawn and will be resubmitted,” Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka said.

An attempt by Minister of Finance-in-charge of General Duties Henry Musasasizi supported by Ms Among to table the “correct” certificates in the House was rejected by legislators who argued it is against the procedures of processing laws.

“There is no way a certificate can be amended when the Bill has already been introduced. The proper way this can be done is for us to politely withdraw the Bills, and come here to introduce them; otherwise what we are doing is just ping pong. Let’s be honest to Ugandans,” Mr Yusuf Mutembuli, the vice chairperson of the Legal Affairs committee, said.

Efforts by Mr Kiwanuka that “the certificates were only insufficient and not absent were futile in convincing the legislators.

“Allow the AG to tell this Parliament that a Bill that was brought in that fashion will not have to first be withdrawn for it to be reintroduced, This is a precedent we are setting that they can bring documents and begin correcting them haphazardly,” Mr Ssemujju Nganda (Kira Municipality), said.

It also emerged yesterday that the rushed handling of the Bills is because the Ministry of Finance has not allocated funds for the agencies to be merged or rationalised for the coming financial year. Ms Among gave committees three days turnaround time and halted all other business.

Background

This adds to the back and forth that has characterised the rationalisation of government agencies first mooted in 2018. Government, according to plans of 2021 wants to retain 80 of its 157 agencies, have the mandate of 33 reverted to line ministries, and 35 merged into 19 entities.

For More News And Analysis About Uganda Follow Africa-Press

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here