Kassanda County North Member of Parliament, Hon. Patrick Oshabe has withdrawn the National Local Content Bill, 2023 which has been before the House.
“At an opportune time, I will seek leave of this House to introduce the National Local Content Bill again having thoroughly considered the amendments that are being proposed,” said Oshabe.
He said this during the plenary sitting held on Thursday, 31 August 2023.
Oshabe noted that the Bill has been repeatedly amended by the Committee on Finance and no longer meets the intention for which it was meant to achieve.
“The Bill was an affirmative action law for Ugandans to ably participate in the provision of goods, works and services. It was, however, modified to provide for prioritisation of the East African Community partner states which offends the very title of the Bill,” said Oshabe.
He cited Rule 116 of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament which bars a Bill from ‘containing anything foreign’.
He said that other East African Community partner states are prioritising their own nationals for provision of goods and services yet the Bill’s amendments sought to give them priority equal to that of Ugandans.
“Furthermore, the amendments to the Bill contravene many other new laws including the procurement laws. I see that my original intention will not be achieved,” Oshabe added.
Hon. Asuman Basalirwa (JEEMA, Bugiri Municipality) seconded Oshabe’s move while alluding to the just passed Veterinary Practitioners’ Bill, 2023 that sought to allow practitioners from EAC countries to be registered in Uganda.
“We got information that other East African countries are not doing the same. As we are opening up, they are closing. I support the Honourable member in withdrawing the Bill to ensure that his intention is preserved,” said Basalirwa.
The Bill was first passed by Parliament on 06 September 2022 but was returned by the President for reconsideration on 19 January 2023. It was again passed on 29 March 2023.
The President again returned it returned it on Tuesday, 15 August 2023 citing among other concerns, Clause 7 to be amended to include locally manufactured goods and services in the East African Community among preference of goods readily available on the Ugandan market.