Government Withdraws Health Laboratory Services Bill

1576 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Although the Parliaments committee on health has interacted with a number of stakeholders, on the matter, the government has opted to withdraw the bill, pending discussions on the merger of government agencies.

The Government has withdrawn the Uganda National Laboratory Services Bill, following plans to merge Government agencies. The bill sought to establish the Uganda National Health Laboratory Services as an independent body, with a mandate to manage and organize laboratory services in Uganda.

Although the Parliaments committee on health has interacted with a number of stakeholders, on the matter, the government has opted to withdraw the bill, pending discussions on the merger of government agencies.

State Minister for Health Sarah Opendi told parliament this afternoon that the bill should be shelved pending consultations on the proposed merger of agencies.
 
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Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda had asked that the bill is deferred, but The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah said that since the committee on health has already debated and scrutinized the bill, it is better if the bill is withdrawn following ongoing discussions.
 
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Michael Bukenya, the Chairperson of the Health Committee of Parliament told the house that the core of the bill is the establishment of an Authority and once this is removed, following the merger, the bill would die. He said there is a need for Government to review the bill.

Last year, President Yoweri Museveni ordered for a review of the public service with a view of scrapping, downsizing and merging government agencies and authorities in a move he said would deal with wastage of Uganda's meager resources.

He argued that mushrooming government agencies were a burden to taxpayers adding that the country should only have two categories of public servants, which include policymakers and money-makers, running the few government parastatals.
 
His message was in a July 17 letter to the Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, copied to Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Public service minister Wilson Muruli Mukasa and Finance Minister Matia Kasaija.

They were given a deadline of December 20, 2018, to come up with a plan to Cabinet on how the proposed re-organization of the public service will work.

It has since emerged that the cabinet has taken a decision to scrap Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), the National Medical Stores and the National Drug Authority and transfer their mandate to the mother ministries.

In the changes, agencies that deal in power generation and distribution will be merged later and reverted to the Ministry of Energy, the Uganda Registration Services Bureau and National Identification and Registration Authority will be transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and education agencies will revert to the education ministry.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.