Workers Members of Parliament have expressed doubts regarding a decision taken by Speaker Jacob Oulanyah to collapse the National Social Security Bill, 2019 -NSSF Bill that had been passed by the Tenth Parliament.
On Thursday last week, Oulanyah guided the House that all business of the Tenth Parliament that remained incomplete, lapsed when the term of that Parliament came to an end.
He said that any MP or government that desires business of the Tenth parliament that was not completed by the end of that Parliament, to be reintroduced in the House and that business begin afresh. The Tenth Parliament, chaired by former Speaker Rebecca Kadaga ended in May 2021.
The Speaker’s guidance means that government Bills that lapsed with the Tenth Parliament will now have to be published, reprinted, and introduced in Parliament afresh, the same applies to Private Members Bills. Also, Bills that were passed by the 10th Parliament and are pending Presidential assent and those returned by the President per Article 91 of the Constitution, but outside the term of the Tenth Parliament, are considered a business that lapsed and should be considered afresh.
One of the Bills affected by the Speaker’s decision is the NSSF Bill which is currently before President Yoweri Museveni, pending assent.
The Bill had endorsed a proposal for the government to allow savers who have clocked 45 years and had saved for 10 years to access 20 percent of their savings and many Ugandans have been gearing up to benefit from this mid-term access provision. After several months of back and forth with the fund managers and workers, the President agreed to assent to the Bill with amendments but this had not been returned to parliament for reconsideration by Thursday.
Addressing journalists at Parliament, Workers MPs including Margaret Rwabushaija, Dr. Abdul Byakatonda, Agness Kunihira, and Usher Wilson Were, the Chairman General of the National Organization of Trade Union- NOTU demanded that the Bill is returned immediately by the Attorney General and Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development for urgent consideration by the 11th Parliament.
Kunihira said that this will help cater to the needs of savers, especially those who have saved for 10 years and also clocked 45 years. She expressed disappointment with the recent decision by the Speaker given that a lot of time and resources had been dedicated to the bill.
Byakatonda said that they have made consultations with the Speaker about the fate of the NSSF Bill and that they are to ensure that the Attorney General presents it afresh to parliament urgently.
Rwabushaija said that they want the NSSF bill to be passed again so that workers with money in the NSSF can access their savings especially those who have lost jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She added that many families of the savers need the money.
Wilson Were gave the workers MPs a 7days ultimatum to ensure that the Bill is tabled again on the floor of parliament for speedy processing.
Besides the NSSF Bill, the others affected by the Speaker’s decision are the Sexual Offences Bill, the Succession Bill, The National Health Insurance, The Fisheries Amendment Bill, 2020, and National Climate Change Bill,2020, Anti-Slavery Bill 2020, National Local Content Bill, the Real Estates Bill 2020, the Estates of Missing Persons (Management) Amendment Bill 2019, Land Lord and Tenant Bill 2019, Marriage and Divorce Bill 2015, the Succession Amendment Bill 2020 and others.