Pressure arose within top Bank of Uganda officials after learning that the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga has given Igara East MP, Michael Mawanda only one extra month to table before Parliament the Constitution Amendment Bill seeking to introduce sweeping changes in the governance of Bank of Uganda.
The Speaker told the legislator, who was granted leave last August to table a private members bill to amend the Bank of Uganda Act, that he has only one month to have the Bill tabled so that parliament and the public debate it, ahead of the start of a busy election cycle.
The speaker was ruling on submissions made by Kawempe North MP Latif Ssebagala where he faulted Mr Mawanda for delaying with the amendment bill, and was asking for two extra months.
“We have a very tight schedule, unless he says he is going to shelve the bill and bring it in the next parliament,” a disappointed Sebagala warned.
According to Mawanda, The Bill intends to cut off the powers of the governor of Bank of Uganda from being chairperson of the board at the same time. The amendments come at the time when Bank of Uganda is suffering a reputation crisis, after numerous reports found a number of governance and management malpractices at a very sensitive institution.
Findings by Parliament have found that the lack of supervision for the governor who is also the chairman of the Bank’s board was itself causing supervisory challenges at the Bank of Uganda. Currently, the governor, according to the Bank of Uganda Act, is also the chair of the board of directors and is deputized by his deputy. The other members are secretary to the treasury Keith Muhakanizi, Dr. Willam Kalema, Mr. James Kahoza, Ms Jude Obitre Gama and Ms Josephine Okui Ossiya.
Mawanda acknowledged the delays and promised to speed up the process.
“We have been working on the bill and we are in final stages and aware that this bill touches a strategic sector of the economy which is the central bank,” Mawanda said.
Kadaga rejected his request to extend the leave to two months and gave him only one month.
The current governor, Bank of Uganda, Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, is both chief executive officer and the chairman of the board of directors of the Central Bank. He was first appointed to this position on 1 January 2001. He now runs the board without deputy since Dr Louis Kasekende’s term expired and wasn’t renewed mid last month.