By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: Bank of Uganda Governor Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile is headed for tougher days after Michael Mawanda Maranga, the Igara East county legislator finalized plans to have his powers trimmed.
Spy Uganda has learnt that Mawanda is in the final stages of tabling a private member’s bill that will see Mutebile’s authority as Bank of Uganda Governor subjected to checks and balances.
According to legislators Michael Mawanda, (NRM) and Paul Mwiru (FDC) say the failure by the Government to act on the report of the Parliament’s Committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) on seven defunct commercial banks prompted their move.
In the existing law, Bank of Uganda Governor chairs the board deputized by the Deputy Governor. Other members are the Secretary to the Treasury and directors from different departments in the bank.
Mawanda says it is worrying that the Central Bank Governor reports to himself since he chairs the board that should supervise his work. He says that in case there is a problem in the management of the Central bank, one can’t run to the board since it is chaired by the same person who heads the bank.
“We hope it can solve all these impasses that have been happening in the bank from the sale of the defunct banks, infighting among others. For now, the board of Governors is reliant on each other and this brings out issues of accountability,” he said.
As of now, Mawanda’s draft bill is ready and he is only waiting for the speaker’s green light to bring it before parliament. “He (deputy speaker) asked me to submit it so that he can have a look at the draft. But I expect to get feedback within this week,” Mawanda said.
The proposed amendments come in the wake of scandals that rocked the central bank recently leading to a probe by the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprise (COSASE) in the sale of several commercial banks.
In his report, the former COSASE Chairperson, Abdul Katuntu recommended a complete overhaul of the bank and separation between the bank management and board.
“In terms of the functions of the Board, the committee observed that the board didn’t adequately supervise management in the process of liquidating the financial institutions,” read the committee findings.
Mawanda’s bill will reduce the powers of the governor Bank of Uganda by separating his roles as a governor from that of chairperson of the board of the Bank, which is the current situation. According to his bill, parliament will be responsible for appropriating resources or approving the Bank of Uganda financial year budget.
The bill will also outline procedures for closing insolvent banks and ensure people like Mutebile do not practice nepotism at the institution as was the case reported in the Presidential Tripartite Committee report.
Anthony Akol, the Shadow Finance Minister, says although the proposed amendments are vital, it is important to consider ethics and appointment of capable people to run the bank.