KAMPALA – Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has issued a one-month ultimatum to Michael Mawanda (Igara East) to present before Parliament the constitutional Amendment Bill aimed at streamlining the operations of Bank of Uganda.
The Speaker’s directive followed a request by Mawanda seeking additional time to table a private member’s bill having obtained leave of Parliament in August 2019, but the Bill has never made its way to Parliament.
Mawanda said, “I am aware that the subject touches a strategic sector but the process is going on. Very soon we shall be tabling the bill within two months. It is a strategic bill and we are looking at various laws in various jurisdictions.”
However, Kadaga wondered why Mawanda needs to travel to other countries to make amendments to Uganda’s constitution, to which Mawanda said it isn’t about benchmarking but cross-checking various laws in other countries.
Latif Sebaggala (Kawempe North) rejected Mawanda’s request saying the lawmaker had been given enough time pointing out that Parliament has a tight schedule ahead of the 2021 general elections, “We have a very tight schedule, unless if he says he is going to shelve the bill and bring it in next parliament?”
However, Mawanda defended the time extension saying, “We are considering various laws which have strengthened governance of central banks.”
Speaker then granted Parliament one month within which to table the amendments.
It should be recalled, Parliament granted Mawanda leave to table the constitutional amendments after the 90 days in which the Ministry of Finance had promised to bring the amendments had expired.
In his motion, Mawanda said that the bill intends to scrap all the powers of Governor of Bank Uganda from being the chairperson of the Board BOU which makes him decided on tough decisions affecting for the Board of the Central Bank.
Mawanda’s motion was premised on a report into closure of seven defunct banks by the Committee of Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) that highlighted flaws in the Central Bank regulations.
The report highlighted that whereas article 161 (2) of the constitution provides that the Board shall consist of the Governor, Deputy Governor and not more than five other members, the Bank of Uganda Act in section 7 provides that the Board of Directors shall consist of the Governor, Deputy Governor, Secretary to Treasury and not less than four nor more than six other Directors.
The Committee also discovered that currently, Secretary to Treasury, Keith Muhakanizi is a voting member of the BoU Board, something the Committee protested and recommended to have the Secretary to the Treasury or his or her representative (not below the rank of Commissioner), like it is in other jurisdictions, should be a non-voting member of the Board.
COSASE highlighted that the central Bank board did not adequately supervise management in the process of liquidating the financial institutions with the Board having failed to demand for final reports on the liquidated financial institutions.