This week in Parliament 11th to 13th February, 2020
On 11th February, Parliament passed a motion for the adoption of the report of the Committee on National Economy on the proposal to borrow up to Euro 300 Million from Stanbic Bank & Euro 300 Million from Trade Development Bank to finance the budget deficit for FY 2019/20.
Hon Bahati David moved a Motion for a resolution of Parliament seeking approval of an amendment of the second Schedule to the Anti-money Laundering Act, 2013. This proposes the use of financial intelligence technology to combat money laundering and fraud. The motion was referred to the Committee on Finance for consideration.
Parliament granted Hon. Rwabushaija Margaret, the Workers MP to introduce a Bill entitled ‘The Establishment and Management of Markets Bill, 2019. The Bill seeks to repeal the Markets Act Cap 94 of 1942, to provide for the establishment of ownership and management of markets in Uganda in order to address the gaps in the current law.
Hon. Ssebagala Abdulatif presented a report of the delegation of the Parliament of Uganda at the 141st Assembly of the Inter-parliamentary Union held in Belgrade, Serbia. He noted that the issues discussed included Rule of Law, Gender Equality and youth participation.
Members of Parliament showed concern about unfulfilled pledges by Government to Uganda Cranes. Hon. Bahati, informed Parliament that the money was being processed through budgeting and appropriation.
Hon. Ssebagala Abdulatif raised a concern written to him by the Ugandan students in China in the Province of Wuhan which is highly affected by coronavirus. He noted that the students were struggling financially because they have been quarantined for more than two weeks.
On the 12th February 2020, Hon. Mwiru Paul was granted leave by Parliament to introduce a bill entitled Constitution Amendment Bill, 2020. He indicated that the bill intends to reduce the cost of litigation in case one of the parties is dissatisfied with the election results.
The Attorney General provided a response to the concern of continued enforcement of the law on idle and disorderly despite the Presidential Directive to Police and KCCA for its suspension. He said that the laws such as the Penal Code Act needed to be amended for it to stop.
The Speaker asked Government to explain the issue of locusts in Uganda because there was no clear information and Members were speculating. Hon. Rwamirama Bright in response said, ” The issue of locust invasion should not be taken as an issue for only Uganda. It is a regional issue and an international issue. We are using recommended chemicals to kill the locusts in Uganda and they won’t be harmful to the people.
On the 13th of February, five bills were read for the second time on the floor of Parliament. Hon. Kamuntu Ephraim, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, moved a motion for the second reading of the bills entitled; Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill 2019, Parliamentary Elections Amendment Bill 2019, Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill 2019, Local Government Elections (Amendment) Bill 2019 and Political Parties & Organisations (Amendment) Bill 2019.
Dr. Jane Aceng, Minister for Health, made a statement before Parliament on plans to support the Ugandan students in Wuhan who are quarantined because of Coronavirus Outbreak in China. Dr. Aceng said that in the interim, the Government was in the process of wiring $61,800 to support the students as more evaluation of the situation takes place. She confirmed that there was no Ugandan student who has contracted Coronavirus. Dr. Acheng informed Parliament that they had contacted various airlines that have flights to Uganda from China and the report is that chartering flights to Wuhan city are difficult because it is on lockdown.
Hon. Tumusiime Rosemary raised a concern that some people who use VIP section at Entebbe Airport were not being screened for Coronavirus. In response, Dr. Jane Aceng noted that there are scanners at VIP section at Entebbe Airport, saying that they are right at the entrance of the VIP section.
Hon. Mawanda Michael raised concern that the position of Deputy Governor Bank of Uganda has been vacant for some time yet it is very critical. He noted that the country needed an explanation on the efforts being made by Govt to fill this position.
Hon. Bettey Aol Ocan, Leader of Opposition, raised a concern that the Executive has ignored the resolution of Parliament which suspended the new curriculum proposed by the Ministry of Education noting that the Ministry has moved on to implement the curriculum. The Speaker of Parliament ruled that the Minister for Education, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni should appear before Parliament to clarify on the same.