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House set to process 9 key Govt bills this week

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Speaker Among 

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The government is scheduled to table nine new Bills in Parliament effective January 13, 2024, with the long-awaited Rationalisation of Government and Public Expenditure top on the list. Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja and Head of Government Business in Parliament says the proposed Bills include the Rationalisation of Government Agencies (Education Sector) (Amendments) Bill, 2024, and the Rationalisation of Government Agencies (Internal Affairs Sector) (Amendments) Bill, 2024.

Also to be tabled include the Rationalisation of Government Agencies (Natural Resources and Environment Sector) (Amendments) Bill, 2024; the Rationalisation of Government Agencies (Works and Transport Sector) (Amendments) Bill, 2024 as well as the Arbitration and Reconciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

Further, among other businesses the Government intends to bring to the House include the Karamoja Development Agency (Repeal) Bill, 2024, the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2023; the Uganda Health Professional Regulatory Council Bill, 2023; the National Tribunal Bill, 2023; and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

The omnibus Bill seeks to legalize the pending plan by the Government to merge  Ministries, Department, and Agencies – MDAs. A total of 33 agencies to be moved to their mother ministries, 35 will be merged into 19 entities whereas 80 others will remain semi-autonomous in a process expected to commence on July 1, 2024.

During a meeting on Monday, the Cabinet chaired by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at State House Entebbe endorsed a total of 30 Bills to merge the existing MDAs. The government mooted the plan to rationalize MDAs in 2018. According to the President, if the government implements the merger now, it will save the country up to 1 trillion Shillings in annual expenditure. “When we talk of rationalization, we are talking about doing things that are rational and save money.”

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Museveni argued that during rationalization, the whole structure of the government should be geared to support the wealth creators since they are vital to the development of the country.

Early this month, the President convened a caucus meeting of Members of Parliament under the National Resistance Movement – NRM party to back the rationalization of government agencies.

It should be noted that in November 2023, Parliament chaired by Speaker Anita Among rejected the Government’s omnibus Bill on the rationalization of agencies. Denis Hamson Obua, the Government Chief Whip said after interacting with the President, the ruling party legislators unanimously agreed to support the Bills once tabled on the floor.

Some of the key agencies to face merger include the Ugandan National Roads Authority to be mainstreamed into the mother Ministry of Works and Transport; the National Forestry Authority-  NFA, Dairy Development Authority – DDA, the Equal Opportunities Commission, and the Electricity Regulatory Authority – REA, among others.

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