News & Up­dates:

The Speaker Re­becca Kadaga chaired the ple­nary sit­ting of 7th July 2020. The Speaker in­structed the Com­mit­tee of De­fence and In­ter­nal Af­fairs to visit Nsam­bya Po­lice bar­racks to ex­am­ine the liv­ing con­di­tions of the Of­fi­cers.  This fol­lowed a con­cern raised by Hon. Kibyalya Mau­rice that the Po­lice bar­racks lacked ad­e­quate hous­ing and elec­tric­ity. The Speaker also asked the Min­istry of In­ter­nal Af­fairs to in­ter­vene and ad­dress the mat­ter.

Ka­toto Hatwib, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Kat­er­ara County in Ru­b­i­rizi dis­trict, raised a con­cern that the vanilla farm­ers in his Con­stituency have been de­nied an op­por­tu­nity to sell their prod­ucts out­side their dis­trict. He said that cur­rently, the farm­ers are un­able to gen­er­ate enough in­come from their crops be­cause the price for vanilla in the dis­trict is very low. The Speaker in­structed the Min­istries of Agri­cul­ture and Trade to ad­dress the mat­ter.

Hon. Ba­hati David, the State Min­is­ter for Fi­nance, in­formed the House that the Min­istry is mak­ing ef­forts to help the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties af­fected by COVID-19. He noted that there would be an is­suance of an in­stru­ment to give re­lief to those who bor­rowed from the money lenders and the mi­cro­fi­nance in­sti­tu­tions.

Con­cern­ing Hon. Ba­hati’s state­ment, the Speaker said that she had re­ceived con­cern from the Sa­lon and Spa op­er­a­tors. Peo­ple in­volved in Sa­lon and Spa busi­nesses want the Gov­ern­ment to al­low them to re-open with guide­lines on how to op­er­ate safely. The busi­ness peo­ple in this sec­tor also want to be guided on how they can ac­quire the stim­u­lus pack­age. Hon. Ba­hati, in re­sponse, said that the Min­istry would pre­pare a com­pre­hen­sive state­ment to re­spond to this mat­ter.

Hon. Frank Tumwe­baze, the Min­is­ter for Gen­der, gave an up­date to Par­lia­ment about the ver­i­fi­ca­tion and en­roll­ment of new el­i­gi­ble ben­e­fi­cia­ries un­der the So­cial As­sis­tance Grants for Em­pow­er­ment (SAGE) Pro­gram. The Min­is­ter said that the el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria to be met by all re­cip­i­ents of the Pro­gramme in­cludes; one be­ing a Ugan­dan cit­i­zen, aged 80 years and above, ben­e­fit­ing from a pub­lic ser­vice pen­sion and should be reg­is­tered with the Na­tional Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Reg­is­tra­tion Au­thor­ity (NIRA). The Min­is­ter em­pha­sized that any per­son who is not on the NIRA reg­is­ter will not be picked by the SAGE sys­tem. Hon. Tumwe­baze noted that the Min­istry has been run­ning an­nounce­ments on var­i­ous pub­lic me­dia to in­form and en­cour­age el­i­gi­ble older per­sons on how they can be helped to ac­cess the SAGE grants.

Hon. Nag­womu Moses, the Chair­per­son of the Com­mit­tee on De­fence and In­ter­nal Af­fairs, pre­sented a re­port of the Com­mit­tee on the pe­ti­tion and over­sight vis­its on op­er­a­tions of the NIRA. Among other things, the re­port in­di­cated that NIRA lacked per­ma­nent of­fices and was rent­ing the place where its head­quar­ters are housed. The re­port find­ings showed that NIRA was pay­ing rent equiv­a­lent to 56 mil­lion to the Min­istry of De­fence. The in­sti­tu­tion is also un­der­staffed across the coun­try, which slows down its work.

Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment pre­sented the need for NIRA to be in­ves­ti­gated re­gard­ing the 56 Mil­lion shillings paid to the Min­istry of De­fence monthly as rent. They ob­served that NIRA is a gov­ern­ment en­tity and, there­fore, should not be pay­ing rent to a Gov­ern­ment Min­istry.

Hon. Sse­ba­gala Ab­du­latif said that some many stu­dents and pupils reg­is­tered for Na­tional IDs but have never got them. He added that the process of re­plac­ing a lost Na­tional ID is chal­leng­ing.

While re­spond­ing to the con­cerns about NIRA, Hon. Obiga Ka­nia ac­knowl­edged that there are weak­nesses in the in­sti­tu­tion. How­ever, the In­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­istry is putting in place mea­sures to im­prove the per­for­mance of the in­sti­tu­tion. Some of the ef­forts made in­clude; the ap­point­ment of a new Board Chair­per­son and the re­cruit­ment of a new Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, which is on­go­ing.

The Speaker ruled that a foren­sic au­dit be car­ried out on the ten­ancy agree­ment be­tween NIRA and the Min­istry of De­fence. This was fol­lowed by the adop­tion of the re­port of the Com­mit­tee on De­fence and In­ter­nal Af­fairs.