Today in Parliament / 13th February 2024.

UPDATES FROM PARLIAMENT, TUESDAY 13TH FEBRUARY 2024: Uganda to commemorate 47th Janan Luwum Day; Parliament hails outgoing ambassador; Report on IDs tabled.

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Africa Leadership Institute and the Parliament of Uganda!

This is an update from the Parliament of Uganda marking the 9th Sitting of the 3rd Meeting of the 3rd Session of the 11th Parliament. This Sitting was chaired by the Deputy Speaker Rt. Hon. Thomas Tayebwa. In his communication, Speaker Tayebwa asked the Clerk to Parliament to organise a blood donation drive at Parliament so that Members of Parliament can contribute towards solving the blood shortage in the country. “Let us donate blood, you never know who you will save you, your relatives or loved ones in the future. Nakasero Blood Bank has been around the country appealing to people to donate blood, we have a big shortage in the country. I want to request the Clerk to Parliament to organize for a blood donation week at Parliament so that we MPs can be able to donate blood”. he said

Reacting to the Speaker’s communication, Hon. Opendi Sarah Acheing (DWR, Tororo District, NRM) suggested that a blood drive should be accompanied by the necessary funds to procure the necessary reagents. “ubts is short by Shs10bn and in November, they put a supplementary request which has not been honored.” she said. Hon. Nandagire Christine Ndiwalana (MP, Bukomansimbi North County, Bukomansimbi District, NUP) advised MPs to meet specific requirements for blood donation, including being 45kgs or older and aged 18-60 years. “Make sure that your diet is good and you don’t collapse and also make sure you aren’t in your menstrual periods as ladies.” she said. Hon. Opio Samuel Acuti (MP, Kole North County, Kole District, INDP) on his part welcomed the Deputy Speaker’s call, revealing that the World Health Organization estimates that Uganda requires 450,000 units of blood per year, but Uganda can only collect 350,000 units. “Several times we have presented on the floor of Parliament unfunded priorities for the blood bank. They need more funding to buy vehicles so that they may be able to bridge the gap. A lot of the blood is collected when we are in schools and Nakasero Blood Bank has indicated that whenever students are on holiday, there are huge shortages of blood, so it is important that we moblise MPs and other adults so that they can fill this gap”. he said.

On behalf of the government, the Government Chief Whip, Hon. Obua Denis Hamson who doubles as the (MP, Ajuri County, Alebtong District, NRM) paid special tribute to the outgoing Ambassador of Japan to Uganda, H.E Fukazawa Hidemoto whose tour of duty has ended. He thanked Amb. Fukazawa for his efforts in ensuring that the Uganda Athletics team participated in the 2022 Tokyo Olympics at the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, which saw Uganda produce remarkable results. “He is the reason why Uganda participated in the 2022 Olympics Games and ended up putting up the most viable competition in our post-independence history. I want to thank him because he coordinated our team very well, remember the 2022 Olympics were held during the COVID-19 pandemic, he connected Uganda to the pre-trial camp in two cities. You tour of duty has come to an end, wherever you go, please go with the blessings of the people of Uganda”. he said. According to Hon. Otimgiw Isaac Ismail (MP, Padyere County, Nebbi District, NRM) the Japanese government has significantly influenced Uganda’s health sector. “MoH launched 116 ambulances to go to our respective constituencies & out of the 116, 25 were a direct donation from Japanese gov’t”. he said. The Deputy Speaker on his part thanked the outgoing Japanese Ambassador to Uganda H.E Fukazawa Hidemoto for lobbying the Japanese Gov’t to increase funding to Uganda in sectors of education, health and infrastructure, saying his efforts have been critical at boosting the growth and development in Uganda. “The Ambassador will be leaving Uganda after completing his duty in Uganda, he has been a friend to many. He had been able to lobby for the people of Uganda for increased funding to sectors ranging from; health, education, University research, infrastructure, energy team and you know Japan is associated with quality”. he said

Hon. Bagiire Aggrey Henry (MP, Bunya West County, Mayuge District, NRM) told MPs that during his tenure as Minister of State for Transport, Ambassador Fukazawa proposed providing defensive driving skills to all Ugandan motorists in order to reduce road carnage, which primarily kills young people. “I remember I had a discussion at the time and he told me that one of the challenges Uganda is facing is the death of young people on the roads and he brought in an idea of training drivers in defensive driving. He wanted to bring in machines in this country to train drivers like they train pilots to make sure that we reduce on the road carnage in this country”. he said

Raising on matters of national importance, Hon. Mbwatekamwa Gaffa (MP, Igara West County, Bushenyi District, NRM) requested that the government provides subsidies to all tea farmers and factories that have closed or are nearing closure. He added that tea farmers are not earning enough income from the tea industry, causing them to abandon their plantations. In response, the State Minister for Industry, Hon. Bahati David who doubles as the (MP, Ndorwa County East, Kabale District, NRM) noted that an inter-ministerial committee has been discussing the matter on tea farmers and the report will be presented to Cabinet on Monday, whose recommendations include an immediate subsidy for tea farmers and factories. The Shadow Minister for Water & Environment, Hon. Kaaya Christine Nakimwero who also doubles as the (DWR, Kiboga District, NUP) was concerned about the declining cleanliness of most abattoirs, particularly in town councils and municipalities. In response the Deputy Speaker assigned the Committee on Health to visit all abattoirs and provide a report within a month. Hon. Muhindo Harold Tonny (MP, Bukonzo County East, Kasese District, FDC) requested the government to provide direction on the new school curriculum. Hon. Rwabushaija Margret Namubiru (MP, Worker’s Representative, INDP) revealed that many teachers are not adequately prepared for the new curriculum and are even unsure of how to mark. In response the State Minister for Primary Education, Hon. Moriku Joyce Kaducu who doubles as the (DWR, Moyo District, NRM) confirmed that the process of implementing the new A’level curriculum is ongoing and progressing.

The House then moved on to receive a statement on the process and guidelines on the renewal of the National Identification Cards. This Statement was presented by the State Minister for Internal Affair, Hon. Muhoozi David who doubles as the (MP, UPDF Representative). According to the Minister, the mass rollout of National Identification Cards will begin on June 1, 2024. The Minister also announced that preparations for the implementation of the new National Security Information System (NSIS) are underway. As part of this process, the relevant staff members are currently undergoing a four-week capacity building program in India, focusing on the customization of the MOSIP system. He also revealed that a Human Resource committee has been established to handle the recruitment processes for the mass enrolment and renewal exercise. He added that the committee will work in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Service to ensure a smooth and efficient process. For hard-to-reach areas, Minister Muhoozi said about 2,750 kits with solar panels, will be available to each district having a 5KV generator for the National ID mass enrolment and renewal exercise.

Reacting to the statement, Hon. Naluyima Betty Ethel (DWR, Wakiso District, NUP) sought clarification from the Minister on the government’s preparedness to commence the mass renewal of National IDs, considering the incomplete ICT installations. The Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa was concerned that the deadline for renewing National IDs may not be met unless the Ministry of Internal Affairs addresses the existing gaps promptly. Hon. Avur Jane Pacuto (DWR, Pakwach District, NRM) inquired about the measures in place for Ugandans in the diaspora to renew their IDs and enroll in the diaspora program. Hon. Okeyoh Peter (MP, Bukooli Island County, Namayingo District, NRM) on his part asserted that the islanders are disadvantaged to the point where even charging batteries is difficult to ensure smooth registration for National IDs. On the same note, Hon. Kakembo Michael (MP, Entebbe Municipality, Wakiso District, NUP) requested that the Ministry of Internal Affairs deploy staff to regions where they are familiar with the peoples’ cultures and languages, to avoid challenges of factual errors.

Hon. Bakireke Betty Nambooze (MP, Mukono Municipality, Mukono District, NUP) argued that the National IDs Agency (NIRA) is over-centralized and called for local governments to take an interest in implementing these matters. “Local Governments are near the people and they know them better”. she said. Hon. Kirumira Hassan (MP, Katikamu County South, Luweero District, NUP) said “Let us align our ID system to the international-based practice such that Ugandans have IDs that do not expire, because there are many justifications why non-expiry IDs are preferred to those that expire”.

The House also received a Statement on the Commemoration of St. Janani Luwum Day. This was presented by the State Minister of Economic Monitoring, Hon. Beatrice Akello. According to the Minister, Uganda is set to commemorate the 47th Commemoration of St. Janani Luwum Day on February 16, 2024. She added “The expected outcome of the Commemoration of Janani Luwum is increased commitment by Ugandans in adhering to the truth, which is the word of God, other than being influenced by materialism”. According to the Minister, The theme for this 47th Commemoration is “Conforming to the truth of God’s word, not the patterns of the world.” It is taken from the Book of Romans 12:1-2.

The Chairperson of the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs, Hon. Kajwengye Wilson also presented a report on the inquiry into the operations of Police Exodus SACCO. The Committee recommended that membership to the SACCO should remain voluntary. “The Police leadership should desist from meddling in the affairs of the Exodus SACCO to allow for the independent control of the SACCO affairs by the Board and Management as prescribed by the SACCO By-Laws”. said the Committee Chair. The Committee observed that the failure to distinguish the affairs of the Exodus SACCO from those of the Police in the years of inception was a recipe for mismanagement. The Committee further recommended that mandatory deductions on Police officers’ salaries to the Exodus SACCO is immediately stopped until a comprehensive membership register is compiled on the condition that only willing members are registered. The Committee report was later adopted with the Deputy Speaker calling for an action-taken report within 3 months.

The Speaker afterwards adjourned the House to Wednesday, 14th February 2024 at 2:00PM

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