Greetings from AFLI and the Parliament of Uganda!
This is an update from the Parliament of Uganda marking the 19th Sitting of the 1st Meeting of the 3rd Session of the 11th Parliament. This Sitting was chaired by the Speaker Rt. Hon. Anitah Among. In her communication, Among urged the government to consider tax incentives to reduce the cost of cooking gas and support energy-efficient cooking systems so as to mitigate the loss of trees to charcoal burning. She also said “Our continued over-reliance on wood fuel for cooking is an environmental disaster which we must confront. I reiterate my call to you Hon. Members to champion environmental conservation through interventions such as tree planting to mitigate the adversity of climate change”.
Reacting to the Speaker’s communication, Hon. Macho Geoffrey (MP, Busia Municipality, Busia, INDP), noted that the price of 10kg of STABEX gas in Kenya is Shs. 30,000 yet the same is sold Shs. 80,000 in Uganda. He wondered how Ugandans who cannot afford such a price are expected to adhere to the ban on charcoal burning or deforestation. He also tasked the government to come up with incentives, such as the provision of gas to the poor communities as a way of conserving the environment. Kagoma County MP, Hon. Walyomu Moses said the cost charged for connecting households to the power lines is high for ordinary Ugandans. ” How can you charge connection fees at Shs. 700,000 when some people cannot earn that amount in a year ?”. he asked. Hon. Achieng Sarah Opendi (DWR, Tororo, NRM) said “I want to appeal to the Executive that biogas is an alternative source of energy that we can effectively use. It will also help us end open defecation“, she said.
The State Minister of Education & Sports, Hon. Ogwang Peter who is also the (MP, Ngariam County, Katakwi, NRM), later presented a Statement on the status of the Uganda Netball Federation and participation of the national netball team in international engagements. The Statement follows the withdrawal of the Certificate of Recognition of Uganda Netball Federation by NCS and the allegation that the national netball team, the She Cranes, failed to participate in the African Netball Championships 2023. The Minister began by congratulating the Cricket Cranes for qualifying for its maiden World Cup which is going to be held in West Indies. He added that from Africa, there are only two teams, Uganda and Namibia. Minister Ogwang revealed that the persistent governance and leadership issues coupled with the arrest of Hon. Sarah Babirye Kityo on the allegation of fraud and obtaining money by false pretense from members of the public got the attention of the World Netball body. Moving forward, World Netball established a four-member normalisation committee to resolve the impasse. He also reported that the Uganda National Federation has had governance and leadership challenges since 2021 which matters were brought to the attention of the National Council of Sports through the office of the then, Minister Hamson Obua.
Hon. Kabahenda Flavia Rwabuhoro (DWR, Kyegegwa, NRM) who is also the Chair Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development, later presented a report on the Petition on Mid-Term Access of NSSF Benefits. The committee observed that NSSF savers who had reached 45 years and had saved with NSSF for the last 10 years or more be allowed to access their 20 percent savings as it was stated before the amendment of 120 months contribution. The Committee also observed that the process of accessing savers’ benefits is shortened. The Committee further observed that whistleblowers are facilitated and their documentation is handled expeditiously when they make their complaints to NSSF management. In addition, the Committee observed that Parliament scrutinizes the nature of investments made by NSSF. As a result, the Committee made the following recommendations: Mglsd should fast-track the post-legislative study of the NSSF (Amendment Act), 2022 given that the 31,145 savers who have benefited from mid-term access is still a low number compared to projections; NSSF should formulate a proper complaint mechanism to enable aggrieved members to seek advice, review, justice and assistance in accessing any benefit accruing to them under the law; Mglsd, MoFPED, and NSSF should fast track and implement the resolutions of Parliament in the report of the Select Committee on NSSF and provide an action taken report to Parliament.
Reacting to the report, Hon. Ayume Charles (MP, Koboko Municipality, Koboko, NRM), said “I’m a bit worried that our life expectancy keeps increasing and I think we are at 64 years. In the next 15 years, we should be at 75 or 80 years. If we keep on taking the midterm access below the recommended age, we shall be defeating the spirit for which social security is supposed to be. We need to approach midterm access with a lot of caution. I’m of the opinion that the government explores other avenues of bailing out citizens in the midst of the financial stress”. On the same note, State Minister for FPED, Hon. Musasizi Henry Ariganyira who is also the (MP, Rubanda East County, Rubanda, NRM), said “The NSSF funds are invested in three asset classes, fixed income, equities and real estate. To date, our investment portfolio is UGX 18.5 trillion which is invested in these three asset classes”. The Minister of GLSD, Hon. Betty Amongi agreed with the recommendations of the Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development on NSSF. The House later adopted the Report.
The Speaker afterward adjourned the House to Tuesday, 05 December 2023 at 2.00 p.m.