Prioritise Committee work — Speaker
The Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga has urged all Members of Parliament to fully carry out their official work of attending committees meetings in full quorum.
“We officially read out your names and you accepted to work, so please do your work or else we shall pass sanctions on Members dodging committee work,” she said.
Kadaga made these remarks as while opening a two day retreat of the Forum of Chairpersons and Clerks to Committees on Friday 18th November 2016 at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala.
“During the NRC, Hon. Elly Karuhanga suggested the establishment of committees. Government then opposed it so much but now they appreciate the advantages and realise the benefits and efficiency of work done by committees,” she said
The Speaker asked committees to ensure order and maintain partiality in conducting their business, and to also speed up the work in handling bills, because the law clearly stipulates that bills should not take more than 45 days. She however asked the committees handling heavy bills to always write and notify the Speaker for more time in case they need it.
Kadaga reminded committee Chairperson that reports brought to the house should always put into consideration the Human Rights Checklist and Certificate of Gender Equity because the Parliament Committee on Human Rights is a signatory to this international statute.
Hon. Raphael Magyezi (Igara County West) informed the Speaker that the members were being taken up by a number of responsibilities mainly in the parliamentary forums that are being set up every day. However the speaker told the Chairpersons that parliamentary forums will be regulated if they interfere with Parliament work.
“Forums are good for networking but if they take a lot of time and are competing with committees, then they should be addressed and regulated,” she said.
On the issue raised by Auditor General about committees using money from different agencies to do their work, the Speaker told Members that the Parliament Commission has the potential to supply additional funds to committees. She further warned Members to stop receiving facilitation from agencies in order to avoid the audit queries that may come up as a result.
“These agencies always quote Parliament to the Auditor General and Parliament has to give the various explanations. However if they want to do it legally, they should write to the office of the Speaker.” She said.
Hon. Alex Byarugaba Bakunda (Isingiro County South) said that committees faced a challenge of witness’ running to court and later using the Sub-judice Rule to stampede committee work. In response to Hon Alex, Hon. Kadaga informed members that there is no one who can decide what is Sub-judice apart from the Speaker of Parliament.
She concluded by thanking the Chairpersons of PAC, COSASE and Natural Resources Committee for the great job they have showed the country so far.
The Forum of Chairpersons and Clerks brings together Chairpersons, Vice Chairpersons, and Clerks to all committees of Parliament. The Forum was established to lend a platform to its Members to discuss matters incidental to the effective and efficient operations of Committees.