BILL WATCH 47-2022 - No progress on Key Bills; Parliament in Recess

BILL WATCH 47/2022

[30th September 2022]

Both Houses of Parliament Sat This Week

Both are Now in Recess Until Tuesday 11th October


This bulletin contains a brief update on key Bills in the National Assembly and the Senate in the sittings that took place on Tuesday 27th, Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th October. 

At the end of Thursday’s sittings both Houses adjourned until Tuesday 11th October. 

The only parliamentary Committee activity next week will be the public consultations on the 2023 National Budget already notified in Veritas Committees Series 38/2022 of 29th September, which is also accessible on the Veritas website [link].

Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill

Bill Watch 44/2022 of 22nd September [link] covered the Speaker’s ruling on the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill delivered on Tuesday 20th September.  This ruling cleared the way for the Bill to be taken through its final stages and then be sent to the Senate.  

There has, however, been no further action on the Bill following the Speaker’s ruling.  The Bill was not brought up by the responsible Minister or any other Minister or Deputy Minister on his behalf. 

The Bill, therefore, remains on the National Assembly Order Paper for Tuesday 11th October, where it heads the list of Bills for attention.  The possibility of further consideration by the House, even at this late stage, was discussed in Bill Watch 46/2022 of 27th September [link].

Judicial Laws Amendment Bill

This Bill, too, was not brought up this week.  It remains on the Order Paper for continuation of the Second Reading stage. 

For progress previously made on 21st and 22nd September – delivery of Minister’s Second Reading speech, presentation of Portfolio Committee report and contributions by several MPs – please see Bill Watches 44/2022 [link] and 45/ 2022 [link]

Still to come before the Bill is given its Second Reading, are any further contributions from MPs and the Minister’s response to the report and debate.

Finance Bill

Bill Watch 45/2022 of 23rd September [link] stated that the National Assembly had on 20th September adopted the amendments to clauses 2 and 3 of the Bill formally recommended by the Senate [but in fact at the request of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development] and sent it to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] for a report on those amendments. 

Correction of error:  Bill Watch 45/2022 stated incorrectly that the PLC report had not been received.  The correct position was that the non-adverse PLC report had been received later on the same afternoon, 20th September, and the National Assembly had immediately passed the Bill and sent it back to the Senate.  [Veritas apologises for the error].

Final passing by Senate  On 27th September, when the Senate resumed sitting, it duly considered the now twice-amended Bill, was satisfied that its recommended amendments had included and passed the Bill.  Veritas understands that the Bill is still with the Government Printer for reprinting prior to being submitted to the President for his assent and publication as an Act in the Government Gazette.

National Security Council Bill [link]

This Bill was gazetted on 6th June 2022 as H.B. 2, 2022.  Veritas commented on it in depth and at length in Bill Watch 39/2022 of 21 August [link]

On Wednesday 28th September the Minister of Defence, Security and War Veteran Affairs , Hon Muchinguri-Kashiri delivered her Second Reading speech explaining the Bill. 

Still to come in this Second Reading stage are the report on the Bill by the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services, contributions by MPs and a reply by the Minister.

Two Bills Presented and Referred to the PLC

On 28th September in the National Assembly the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, on behalf of the respective responsible Ministers, presented the following Bills, which received their First Readings and were immediately referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee for its reports on their consistency with the Constitution:

Medical Services Amendment Bill, H.B. 1, 2022 [link[presented on behalf of the Minister of Health and Child Care].

The Bill was gazetted on 20th May.  Veritas commented on the Bill in Bill Watch 32/2022 of 21 July [link].  The Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care conducted public hearings on the Bill from 18th to 22nd July; its report on those hearings and the Bill itself will be presented when the Bill reaches the Second Reading stage in due course.

Electricity Amendment Bill, H.B. 7, 2022 [link[presented on behalf of the Minister of Energy and Power Development]. 

The Bill was gazetted on 29th July.  It proposes stiff minimum sentences for various offences under section 60A and 60C of the Electricity Act.  Veritas commented on the Bill in Bill Watch 42/2022 of [link].  The Ministry of Energy and Power Development was due to “unpack” the Bill for the Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development on 29th September.  Public hearings on the Bill have not yet been conducted. 

Coming up When Parliament Resumes

There are about nine other Bills on the National Assembly Order Paper – apart from those already mentioned above.  The next bulletin will list these Bills.  There are also more suggested Bills mentioned in Post-Cabinet Briefings.

Bearing in mind that this Parliamentary year usually ends in October, Parliament will have difficulty getting through the Order Paper.  Some Bills will inevitably have to be carried forward again.

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