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The powers of the Bank of Uganda (BoU) Governor are set to be clipped if Parliament passes a private Member’s Bill that seeks to amend the Constitution as a way of streamlining the management of the Central Bank.
The Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2020, was tabled before Parliament last Thursday by Igara East MP Michael Muwanda during a plenary sitting. It was referred to the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for further scrutiny before it is read for the second time within 45 days.
The mover, who secured a certificate of financial implication from the ministry of Finance, read out the Bill’s specific objectives while rallying the House to support it.
These objectives are; to remove the Governor and Deputy Governor from being chairperson and vice chairperson of the BoU Board, respectively; to provide for the functions of the governor; and, also to provide for the governor’s resignation from the board.
Mr Mawanda wants Article 161 of the 1995 Constitution amended by providing that the governor shall not double as the chairperson of the BoU board.
The Private Member’s Bill is now one way of helping the government to implement a resolution of Parliament while approving the February 28, 2019, report of the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase).
Then chaired by Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu, Cosase, after investigating the closure and selling of some commercial banks, including Crane Bank, National Bank of Commerce and Global Trust Bank, found that it was hard for the board to supervise the performance of the Central Bank since the Governor doubled as its chairperson.
Now, in his Bill, Mr Mawanda wants the governor to remain a member of the board of seven people from whom a chairperson shall be appointed.
Clause 1 (3) of the Bill states; “the Governor and other members of the Board shall; (a) be appointed by the President with approval of Parliament, (b), hold office for a term of five years and shall be legible for re-appointment”.
The same Clause in sub-clause 4 proposes; “the President shall appoint the chairperson of the Board from among the members”.
Mr Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile has been the BoU Board chairperson by virtue of his appointment as the Central Bank Governor under Article 161 (4) of the Constitution.
The Bill has now proposed the insertion of articles 161A, 161B and 161C, which are aimed at putting in specific terms on the offices and functions of the governor and the deputy governor.
Whereas the proposed Article 161A provides for the office of the governor, the holder of the office would have his or functions provided for in the new Article 161B.
The proposed functions of the Governor are; being responsible for the monetary policy; incurring expenditures for the bank within approved budget by board and Parliament; organising and managing the bank.
Others are causing proper accounts to be kept of all transactions entered into by the bank; ensuring safe custody of all the assets of the bank and any valuables entrusted to the bank; and ensuring proper discharge of duties of the staff and other employees of the bank.
By Thembo Kahungu