By Ronald Nahabwe
Parliament of Uganda has permitted Igara County East Member of Parliament Michael Mawanda leave to introduce a private member’s bill, which seeks to amend Article 161 of the Constitution, to scrap the powers of the Governor and Deputy Governor Bank of Uganda from serving as chairperson and deputy chairperson of the board of directors respectively.
Mawanda came up with such a bill after COSASE probe unearthed a lot of inconsistencies after the illegal closure of seven commercial banks.
“We have had problems of accountability where a budget is made by top management headed by the Governor and approved by the board headed by the Governor. If there is a mistake that is made by management and carried by the board, which is headed by the same person, we shall not be able to rectify this problem,” said Mawanda.
Mawanda added, “Currently, there is no ‘second eye’ in Bank of Uganda. This is the reason we are seeking separation of powers whereby the Governor becomes the chief executive then an independent person is appointed to head the board which can oversee the operations of Bank of Uganda”.
Mawanda explained that his bill follows a recommendation from the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) report calling on government to establish an independent board of directors of the central bank.
Hon Elijah Okupa (FDC, Kasilo County) said that in countries such as Kenya and South Africa where the governor is separate from the board, the central bank runs smoothly.
Recalling what he termed as trouble in Bank of Uganda, Hon David Abala (NRM, Ngora County) also called for separation of the decision making function from administration.
“You cannot fuse administration with policy making; we know the trouble we saw in Bank of Uganda investigations; this bill is the medicine that will heal what we saw during investigations,” said Abala.
Rwampara County MP, Hon Charles Ngabirano, proposed that the bill should not only address issues at Bank of Uganda but other government entities in a similar situation.
Some of the issues that caused problems were the closure of city tycoon Sudhir Rupaleria’s Crane bank which ended up with Bank of Uganda losing the case it had filed against him in the commercial court over the same matter.