President Museveni has declined to put his signature on the Minimum Wage Bill, 2015 which was passed by Parliament on February 19.
According to Arinaitwe Rwakajara who championed the Bill, Parliament intended to provide for the determination of a minimum wage based on the different sectors of the economy.
The bill also provides that the Gender, Labour and Social Development minister will appoint a minimum wage board to fix a minimum wage.
After two months, it was forwarded to the President for approval before he sent it back to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga unsigned.
The Speaker on Tuesday before the beginning of the Plenary, informed the House that President rejected the bill.
“You may recall that in the last session Parliament passed the Minimum Wage Bill and it was sent to the President for assent as provided by the Constitution. However on August 21, the President wrote to me under article 913 that he refuses to assent the bill,” said Kadaga.
She added that since she is required under article 916 (a) of the Constitution to present the same bill to members for their consideration, she read the president’s letter before them.
“I have received the Minimum wage Bill for assent having received advise from Attorney General in peruse of article 912 (c) of the constitution I hereby refuse to assent the bill for the following reasons; there are no gaps in the minimum wages and advisory board and wages council act that the bill seeks to cure and the current law is adequate and enforceable.
Secondly, the Cabinet directed the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development to review a report whether there are implications of fixing the minimum wage for investment and the economy. So the Cabinet is waiting for that report from the Ministry so for us to make a faithful decision,” reads part of the letter.
Kadaga told the House that this was a different move by the President since he didn’t indicate any loophole in the bill but just refused it.
“This is a total rejection of the entire bill since he didn’t indicate areas he wants us to adjust. This time he has just refused it. Therefore I direct the member responsible for this bill to retable it so that we take the decision as a whole house,” she added.
However, Arua Municipality lawmaker Kassiano Ezati Wadri wondered why the Attorney General William Byarugaba didn’t advise the House by the time the bill was tabled for the second time.
“In the letter, you have just read he says that he declined to sign the bill on the advice of Attorney General who is the member of this House. Why did he deny us his technical advice at the time when this law was considered? Is he not doing a disservice to this House Madam Speaker?” Wadri asked to which Kadaga also agreed that Byarugaba betrayed the House by the time the bill was passed.
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