Members of Parliament have allowed for the second time the tabling of the Local Content Bill, without a certificate of financial implication.
Parliament Rules of Procedure provide that all Bills introduced in the house shall be accompanied by a Certificate of Financial Implication issued by the Finance Minister.
The certificate is a key tool to indicate the impact of the Bill on the economy and estimates revenue and expenditure over the period of not less than two years after it’s coming into effect of the Bill.
The private members Bill by Kassanda North MP, Patrick Nsamba Oshabe was first tabled before Parliament in January 2019 during the Tenth Parliament without the certificate, and parliament then accused the Ministry of Finance of using the provision to frustrate MPs from tabling Bills in the House.
Private members are also restricted from presenting bills that impose a charge on the consolidated fund or any other public fund of Uganda.
Former Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga then allowed MP Nsamba to table the Bill for its first reading in line with rule 117 of parliament’s rules of procedure.
The rule stipulates that a certificate of financial implication shall be deemed to have been issued after 60 days from the date of the request.
The Bill was thereafter processed and eventually passed.
However, President Yoweri Museveni declined to assent to it and returned it to parliament on 18th August 2020, citing provisions that would put Uganda on a parallel course with the international community.
President Museveni among others cited section 4 of the Bill that tasked a local content entity to give preference to goods that are manufactured in Uganda as well as services that are provided by Ugandan entities.
“The Bill is in conflict with the East African Monetary Union. Under Article 13 of the Customs Union Protocol, the EAC partner states agreed to remove all existing non-tariff barriers to trade and not to impose any new ones,” said Museveni in his letter to the Speaker.
The President also expressed reservations about enacting a Local Content Department under the Minister for Finance, in a bid to implement the law.
“It is not feasible for one department to approve local content plans from bidders, for each individual procurement for the whole country,” the President further stated in his letter.
The Eleventh Parliament once again granted MP Nsamba leave on 3rd November 2021 to introduce the Local Content Bill.
According to Speaker Anita Among, the MP was accorded support by the office of the Clerk to Parliament in seeking a certificate of financial implication but at the expiry of 60 days after the request, the Minister of Finance had not issued it.
She invoked the provisions under the parliament rules of procedure and the Public Finance Management Act to allow MP Nsamba to table his Bill without the Certificate of Financial Implication.
Henry Musasizi, the Minister of State for Finance- General Duties confirmed that his ministry received the certificate request and that the Ministry of Finance is still looking into it.
Nsamba tabled the Local Content Bill, 2022 and Among referred it to the committee of Finance for consideration and report back to parliament within 45 days.
While seeking leave of the House to introduce the Bill, Nsamba said that it is aimed at increasing consumption of local products and increasing participation of local firms in domestic trade.
He added that the lack of protection of local manufacturers and the non-imposition of obligations on foreign investors to use Ugandan labor and the non-implementation of the Buy Uganda Build Uganda policy, exposed Ugandan manufacturers to unfair competition.