Uganda: Oulanyah Directs Clerk to Parliament to Gazette Constitutional Amendment Bill

Kampala, Uganda — The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has directed the Clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige to publish the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2019 in the gazette.

Oulanyah made the directive on Tuesday following an appeal from Shadow Attorney General Wilfred Niwagaba who requested that his Bill be gazetted after the Ministry of Finance declined to issue him a Certificate of Financial Implication within the stipulated 60-day rule under the Public Finance Management Act.

Section 76 (4) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), 2015 provides that a Certificate of Financial Implication shall be deemed to have been issued after 60 days from the date of request of the certificate.

This section also highlighted in the Parliament Rules of Procedure mainly allows Private Members' Bills to be presented before Parliament if the Certificate of Financial Implication is not issued within the set timeline. It was envisaged to cure the difficulty private members go through to present their Bills for first reading.

Oulanyah noted that since the law deems the Certificate to have been issued after the 60 days, Parliament was to proceed with the consideration of the Bill.

He directed the clerk in accordance with Niwagaba's request to publish the Bill in the gazette so that it can be presented for its First reading.

Some of the key Constitutional Amendments proposed by Niwagaba in the Bill include reinstating presidential term limits, removal of the Prime Minister position, removal of the representation of the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) representatives from parliament, and restrict the number of Cabinet Ministers and other Ministers to 21 respectively, increasing the number of members of the Electoral Commission (EC) from 7 to 9 and others.

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Earlier, the State Minister for Finance-General Duties Gabriel Ajedra told URN that Finance Ministry had not denied issuance of the Certificate requires as per a letter dated 18th September from the Clerk to Parliament, Jane Kibirige, to the Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Keith Muhakanizi.

He said that the Ministry needed to undertake all procedures that Bills go through before issuance of the Certificate. His statement came after the Finance Minister Matia Kasaija on 11th October engaged the Attorney General William Byaruhanga in a letter requesting an analysis of the financial implication that the proposed Bill poses on the economy.

"When a Bill comes like that, it should be analysed in terms of what it will cost government and naturally we have to work with the Justice Ministry and the First Parliamentary Counsel to find out what will be the legal implications and what would be the cost before we issue Certificate of Financial Implications," Ajedra said then.

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