Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa was in the chair.
Raising on a matter of National Importance, Hon. Mugabi Muzaale Martin (Buzaaya County, Kamuli, NRM) was concerned that the Government had not been able to present the Consumer Protection Bill. He said that the public had been hit hard by commodity prices and believed that this bill could help to protect consumers from exploitation. He says that the government promised to present the bill which has not been presented up to now. He asked Government to communicate to members such that if the bill is not ready, a private member can present the bill.
On another matter, Hon. Solomon Silwany (Bukhooli Central, NRM) raised the concern of the medical workers whose services were cancelled by the Ministry of Health. He said that the Ministry should follow the presidential directive of absorbing the 700 medical workers into public service. In addition, Hon. Angura Fredrick (Tororo South, NRM) said that he did not find sense in cancelling the contracts of these health workers who were working during Covid and yet even the World Health Organisation (WHO) had not yet declared the world Covid-19 free. In response, the Deputy Speaker asked the Minister of Health to come to the house and explain how far they had gone with implementing the presidential directive of absorbing these health workers into public service.
Hon. David Kalwanga (Busujju County, NUP) on his part, was concerned about projects that were launched by the Ministry of Water and later abandoned in Mityana. He said that at the launch of these projects service providers were not paid and people were demanding their money. On this, the Deputy Speaker instructed the Minister of Energy to come to the house and make a comprehensive statement about the implementation of Rural Electrification Agency projects.
Hon. Magolo John Faith (Bungokho North, NRM) was concerned that the scrapping of the Discretionary Development Equalization Grant (DDEG) would cripple service delivery and operations at the local government level. He asked the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury (PS/ST) Ramathan Ggoobi to withdraw the statement that he wrote to the District Local Governments and reinstate DDEG in the Budget for FY 2022/23. In response, the Deputy Speaker instructed the Minister of Finance to come to the house next week and make a statement about the Discretionary Development Equalisation Grant (DDEG) and why it was being scrapped.
Later, The Minister for Finance Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) Matia Kasaijja presented a statement on the status of funding for coffee and tea seedlings. This follows a question raised by Hon. Enos Asimwe the MP Kabula County.
Later we had Prime Minister’s Question time where the Prime Minister responds to questions from Members of Parliament. The PM presented a statement of the government’s business in the succeeding week. This includes a Motion to amend the 1st Schedule of the URSB Act CAP 210, as well as an Update to the house about the Ratification of the EAC Protocol to take care of the extended jurisdiction.
Raising on a matter of national concern, Hon. Rachel Magoola (DWR, Bugweri, NRM) was concerned by the impending eviction of people in Mayuge, Bugwere, and Bugiri from their land on which a new mineral was discovered. She said that people were being asked to sign agreements with companies for their land. In response, the Prime Minister told the house that she would use her authority as the Prime Minister to stop any sort of eviction in the area. She said the Government was working hard to ensure that the issue of evictions of people from their land is addressed.
Hon. Abed Bwanika (MP Kimaanya-Kabonera, Masaka City, NUP) was concerned about the poor state of the Masaka-Mutukula Road. He said that the road is in a poor state yet it gives Uganda another alternative to the sea through Tanzania. In response, State Minister for Works and Transport, Hon. Musa Ecweru said the design for Masaka-Mutukula Road was in the final stages. “There is no way we can ignore such a critical road”, he said.
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon Mathias Mpuuga said there is a need to improve marine rescue operations on the lakes around the country. “We passed money for procurement of marine rescue boats but we don’t see any vessels that they alleged to have bought”, he said. On the escalation of piracy on Lake Victoria, the Premier said that the Uganda Police Force had intensified operations on the water. The marine police intelligence network has been enhanced to detect and deter the escalation of theft in the areas. On the question of the Laropi ferry whose operations had been suspended raised by Hon. Tom Alero Aza (MP, West Moyo County, NRM) the PM told the house that the ferry needed maintenance. On the deplorable state of the Lira-Kamdini road whose funding by the World bank had been delayed, the PM told the house the road works had commenced on this road.
Later, Pakwach District Woman MP, Hon Jane Avur Pacuto (NRM) moved a motion urging the government to operationalize the Tree Fund to facilitate the promotion of tree planting and growing at the national and local levels. She said, one of the major challenges affecting the restoration of forest cover and promotion of tree planting and growing is inadequate funding which incapacitates the implementation of tree planting and growing programmes. The house later adopted the motion for a resolution of Parliament to operationalize the tree fund.
Hon. Sarah Opendi (DWR Tororo, NRM, and UWOPA Chair) while moving a motion for a resolution of parliament urging the government to urgently operationalise the Road Fund, blamed the government for its failure to commit funds for road maintenance which had increased road crashes in Uganda. She said that road maintenance would go a long way in protecting the roads that are constructed. She asked the Minister to present to the house regulations to operationalize the Road Fund Act.
Hon. Nathan Byanyima (Bukanga North Isingiro, NRM) while seconding the motion to operationalise the Road Fund blamed the Minister of Finance for not caring about road maintenance. He said that the Ministry of Finance was always unwilling to commit funds to maintain the roads. He said that if the house approves that something is done, it should be done. He said that it was unfortunate that the government was only concerned with constructing new roads but doesn’t put money into maintaining.