By Max Patrick Ocaido
PARLIAMENT. Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has named and shamed worst performing Parliamentary Committees that have failed to deliver their tasks in time.
The slow pace at which Parliamentary committees are conducting their activities has even prompted Speaker Kadaga to propose invention of an Application (App) to track their performances.
Kadaga during plenary Tuesday said that Parliament is inventing an App that will track the activities of committees with a bid to quicken the process of preparing Bills to be discussed on the floor of Parliament.
On several occasions, Kadaga has reminded the various committee chairpersons to up their game and conclude their pending activities especially on the Bills, adding that their slow pace of work is stifling business of Parliament.
She listed a number of Bills that have stayed with the committees for more than the stipulated time as mandated by the Rules of Procedure and among the Bills include; Civil Aviation Bill, Data Protection Bill, Sexual Offense Bill and Marriage and Divorce Bill.
During plenary, Kadaga listed several committees that have delayed to deliver on Bills that was given to them to process in accordance with the 1995 Constitution and Parliament Rules of Procedure. At the beginning of this session, Kadaga said that Parliament will prioritize Bills and pleaded with committees to finalize processing the Bills.
Whereas the law gives a committee a maximum of 45days to process a Bill-which can be adjusted upon request from MPs, Kadaga says that some committees have spent over 700days processing one single Bill and have not even bothered to seek an official extension from the House.
The committees that Kadaga notified for being late includes; the committee on Budget which is handling the Supplementary Appropriation 2017 and Supplementary Appropriation, No.2 (2017), committee on Presidential Affairs, Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development (late by over 700days), committee on finance which is handling Investment Code Bill (late by 433days), Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry is late by over 500 days with the Wildlife Bill, Committee on Health, Legal Committee on Security Interests Bill is late by 122 days, Committee on Natural Resources handling Environment Bill is beyond the 45 days and has not sought an extension. The Committee on Physical Infrastructure which is handling Civil Aviation Bill is late by 440 days while the Committee on ICT handling Data Protection Bill is late by over 400 days.
“By the time we go for the Independence break, the Bills which are outstanding will have to be done because the next sittings will be for reports with the standing committees and others. So all the Bills must be done before we go for Independence,” Kadaga said.
She added, “Honourable members, the situation is dire and I want to inform you that we have developed an Application which will track your work in the committee, but also inform the public. So that if you are late then a notice will come out indicating so and it will be published on the website.”
Budadiri West MP Nandala Mafabi who is a member of committee on Finance rose on procedural matter arguing that committees are not entirely to blame for the current delays.
“The Investment Code Bill came to the House---it was debated and again they said there should be some sort of harmonization, so where does the committee problem begin from if it has presented the report to the House?” Mafabi asked. He added that some Bills simply take long without being put on the Order Paper even when the committee has concluded its duty.