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Museveni Declines To Sign Mining And Minerals Bill Into Law

President Yoweri Museveni (pictured) has  declined to sign The Mining and Minerals Bill into law a on grounds that the the proposal to create a Minerals Tribunal would undermine Government’s efforts of merging ‘mushrooming’ institutions.

 

Speaker Anita Among communicated Museveni’s decision today afternoon and directed Parliament’s Environment and Natural Resources to reconsider the Mining and Minerals Bill.

 

The Speaker’s directive followed a letter written by the President in June while returning the bill where he highlighted four clauses that Parliament needs to reconsider before the Bill is signed into law.

 

The President pointed out Clause 33(6) on appeals against the decision where Parliament had approved the provision to establish a Mining Tribunal to handle grievances in the sector, a proposal the President rejected saying it would lead to duplication of agencies something Government is attempting to contain.

 

The President instead proposed to have all those dissatisfied with the decision by the Ministry to lodge an appeal with High Court within 30days of the decision upon its receipt.

 

“The establishment of the tribunal is contrary to the government ongoing process of rationalization and merging of agencies. The High Court has unlimited jurisdiction in all matters that have to do with all matters that have to do with strengthening or improve delivery of justice and it is empowered to handle such grievances,” read in part Museveni’s letter.

 

The President also asked Parliament to reconsider Clause 8 on definition of large scale mining, which he wants to be deleted saying the current definition restricts large scale mining to 1million tones yet there are some iron ore mines in areas of Rubanda, Kilembe and Mukono that are capital intensive yet it is hard to reach the 1million tonnes target.

 

The Speaker directed the Committee to present the report during tomorrow’s plenary sitting.

However, Wilfred Niwagaba (Niwagaba East) pointed out that even before the Speaker had sent the bill for reconsideration, the Committee had undertaken the reconsideration without seeking for an input from the technocrats.

“The committee on Natural Resources has already processed this reference even before you referred the bill to the Committee. This particular bill particularly has raised concern is a really technical matter, it would be important that the committee interfaces with technocrats of the ministry of Energy in Department of Geology,” Niwagaba said.

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