The Deputy Speaker, Anita Among has given chairpersons up to 10 February 2022 to present Bills that were referred to their respective committees.
While chairing a plenary sitting on 02 February 2022, Among said that Rule 129 (2) of Rules of Procedure requires committees to report back on Bills referred to them within 45 days.
“Most of the Bills were sent back to the committees and have not been brought back. Of the nine, only two are still within 45 days. The seven have expired and I expect them to be brought to the House as per the Rules of Procedure,” she said.
She added that the Rules of Procedure allow the chairpersons to ask for extension, if they fail to meet the legal timeframe, adding that action can be taken against chairpersons who fail to meet the deadline.
“The rules also stipulate that if you do not bring the reports within the 45 days, the House can go ahead and have the Bills read for the second time,” she said.
Hon Joseph Ssewungu (NUP, Kalungu West County) said that delayed processing of Bills renders Parliament incompetent.
“These chairpersons should be tasked to explain the delays. Parliament facilitates committees to carry out their duties because our major role is the processing of Bills. We are aware members lobby to be chairpersons of committees,” Ssewungu said.
Hon Robert Migadde (NRM, Buvuma Island County) cited lack of resources as the reason why some of the Bills have been delayed to which the Deputy Speaker negated, saying that Parliament provides adequate funds.
“Even if we ask for extensions without resources, we shall only continue asking for extensions,” said Migadde.
Hon Samuel Opio (Indep., Kole North County) urged the House to also tackle the issue of delayed debating and consideration of reports.
“We also ask that committees that have overdue reports that a deadline is provided to them to be able to report back. There are several actions that this House has referred to the committees but we haven’t received the reports,” said Opio.