By Max Patrick Ocaido
KAMPALA. The Parliamentary committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development has issued a time-bound directive to Gender minister Janat Mukwaya to retable Persons with Disability (PwDs) Bill.
While presenting a report on the ministerial policy statement for FY 2018/19 on Tuesday, committee chairperson Alex Ndeezi, who also represents PwDs in Parliament, gave Gender minister up to the end of this Financial Year to retable PwDs Bill.
"The Committee noted with concern that to date, no bill (PwDs) has been tabled to this House for consideration as promised by the minister; such delays are an indication of lack of commitment on the part of the government and the Minister in particular. The Committee recommends that the Minister of Gender Labour and Social Development urgently tables the Bill not later than 30 June 2018. If the Minister does not act in line with this recommendation, the option of a Private Members' Bill should be considered," says the report read by Ndeezi.
In 2014, then Minister of Gender, Karooro Okurut tabled the PwDs Bill, 2014 in Parliament for first reading. The Bill was referred to the Committee for expeditious scrutiny where Parliament spent resources to facilitate the Committee to conduct regional consultations and benchmarking on the Bill.
However, on 14th February 2O17, Minister Mukwaya sought leave of Parliament to withdraw the Bill. Subsequently the bill was withdrawn and Mukwaya committed herself to bring a new bill within a period of one month. Since then, there has been no new Bill to that effect. The objective of the PwDs Bill is to operationalize article 35 of the Constitution that calls for respect and promoting of fundamental and other human rights and freedoms of the persons with disabilities and for the non-discrimination of persons with disabilities in education, health and employment amongst other aspects.
The committee in its report further directed ministry of finance to avail additional Shs10bn to the budget allocation for persons with disability grant as per the presidential directive.
During the celebrations to mark international day for persons with disabilities held in Kamwenge in February 20I8, President Yoweri Museveni promised to increase grant for PWDs to Shs10bn. However, these funds are not reflected anywhere in the budget of the sector in the FY 2018/2019, according to the committee report.