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National Local Content Bill Hits Snag

The National Local Content Bill 2019 has hit snag after the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs that has been scrutinizing it declined to continue processing it following concerns that certain sections of the Bill contravene the East African Community protocols.

Tabled by Kassanda North MP, Patrick Nsamba and seconded by his Bukoto South counterpart Muyanja Mbabaali, the Bill seeks to guarantee priority and exclusive use of locally manufactured goods and services in all projects where the government is a party.

The Committee was forwarded to the Legal Committee last month after Parliament agreed to have the Bill presented before the August House for first reading following failure by the Ministry of Finance to issue the two legislators a certificate of financial implication as required by the constitution.

When Nsamba appeared before the Committee to present his Bill, the Legislators realized that the proprietors of the Bill did not have a certificate of financial implications, an oversight Nsamba defended informing the Committee that the Speaker had given him leeway to present the Bill after the Finance Ministry declined to issue him the certificate of financial implication.

The Bill further suffered another challenge when the Committee was furnished with a letter from the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs which informed the Committee that the Bill in its current form contravenes with the East African Community protocol and other sections are a duplicate of the guidelines Government is developing on local content.

The revelation prompted Sam Bitangaro, the Vice Chairperson of the Committee to postpone the matter to next week after they have received guidance from the Attorney General on whether the bill contravenes some parts of the protocol.

“The Minister says that the bill has provisions that are contrary to the East African Community protocols of the common market but some of the states haven’t followed these protocols. We may not be appropriate to explicitly come up with a legal framework that defies these protocols. My thinking is that we seek direction from the attorney General between now and Tuesday,” Bitangaro argued. 

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