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LEGAL FACTS: 25 Bills have been passed by Parliament and many during the COVID-19 Season

Saturday, June 6th, 2020

Parliament has taken an active role in ensuring the passing of a number of Bills. Of the 25 Bills passed in this Financial year, almost 10 Bills were passed during the COVID-19 lockdown. Take a look at our breakdown of all the Bills passed and assented to.

1. The Administration of the Judiciary Bill, 2018. This Bill ensures that the Judiciary operates independently as an arm of Government. Article 133 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda has always vested administration and supervision of the Judiciary in the Chief Justice, however there had been no law that clearly laid out these powers until now. This Bill is very important because it will ensure that the Judiciary is held accountable for all its decisions and accounts and this will foster better administration of justice.
This is surely a welcomed law.

2. The Appropriation Bill, 2020. The Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija tabled this Bill in April, 2020 on behalf of President Museveni, for the budget for the year 2020/2021.

3. The Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment ) Bill, 2019. This Bill was passed in September, 2019 and it repeals certain sections in the main Act in order to facilitate and legalize the sharing of financial information by the Financial Intelligence Authority with other similar authorities outside of Uganda.

4. Constitution and Rule 142 of the Rules of Procedure.

5. The Electoral Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2019. This Bill is meant to establish the Electoral Reform Commission and to provide for the use of technology in the management of elections and the gazetting of polling stations, amongst others. Download it here: https://www.abmadvocates.com/electoral-commission-amendment-bill-2019_no-19/

6. The Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2020. This Bill is meant to ensure increased collection of revenue by increasing the excise duty on goods such as alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, fuel, gasoline, cigarettes and so many more. This Bill comes into force on the 1st of July, 2020. Download it here: https://www.abmadvocates.com/the-excise-duty-amendment-bill-2020/

7. The Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2020. This Bill has been assented to and comes into effect on the 1st of July, 2020. Main highlights include the creation of a minimum tax rate for tax payers of 0.5% of the gross turn over for taxpayers who declared tax liability of less than 0.5% of their gross turnover for a consecutive five years. It also requires tax payers to submit e-invoices and e-receipts if they are to claim Input VAT for expenses on goods and services. The Act introduces new tax rates/thresholds for small businesses and so much more. Download the Act here for more: https://www.abmadvocates.com/the-income-tax-amendment-bill-2020/

8. The Institute of Parliamentary Studies Bill, 2019

9. The Kampala Capital City Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2015. This Bill if passed into law is meant to streamline the governance of the Capital City. Download it here: https://www.abmadvocates.com/kampala-capital-city-authority-amendment-bill-2015/

10. The Landlord and Tenant Bill, 2018. An act to regulate the relationship between Landlords and Tenants. Download it here: https://www.abmadvocates.com/the-landlord-and-tenant-bill-2018/

11. The Law Revision Bill, 2019.This Bill is meant to provide the process of and revision of laws in Uganda.

12. The Law Revision (Penalties in Criminal Matters) Miscellaneous (Amendment) Bill, 2015. This law seeks to remove the death penalty and substitute all crimes of such capital nature to sentences of life imprisonment.

13. The Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2019. Download a copy here: https://www.abmadvocates.com/local-governmentsamendment-bill-2020/

14. The National Local Content Bill, 2019. This possibly one of the most relevant and useful Bill. If passed into law, this act requires all businesses to employ 100% of Ugandan citizens for unskilled labour and at least 60% for skilled labour. This Bill if assented to will ensure that there are more jobs for Ugandans in Uganda and to reduce the amount of imported labour. Therefore, less money leaving the country. We await eagerly for this law to be passed as this will help reduce the level of unemployment.

15. The National Payments Systems Bill, 2020. There has been some controversy regarding this Bill especially in regard to the remittance of funds on dormant accounts to the Consolidated Fund. While this may raise concern especially in respect to the period of time that should lapse before an account becomes dormant. The Bill proposes to have electronic accounts declared dormant after nine months of no activity at all. It has been argued that nine months is too short a period to declare an electronic account dormant. This is because most of these electronic accounts such as Mobile Money accounts are attached to local phone numbers. If an account holder leaves the country for business, studies, a sabbatical or the like for over nine months, he/she is bound to return and find his/her account declared dormant and the funds on the account transferred.
Despite this particular controversy, the Bill includes a number of relevant provisions to curb issues such as Money laundering and fraud. Download the Bill here https://www.abmadvocates.com/national-payment-systems-bill-2019/

16.The Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2019. This Bill among other things provides for the participation of independent candidates in elections

17. The Physical Planning (Amendment) Bill, 2018. This Bill was assented to on the 12th of December, 2019 and came into force on the 10th of January, 2020.

18. The Political Parties and Organizations (Amendment) Bill, 2019

19. The Presidential Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2019

20. The Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (Amendment) Bill, 2019. Among other changes, this bill seeks to remove the Authority from the administrative review process and provide for electronic communications and records.

21. The Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2020. This Bill proposes to create stamp duty on Professional licenses/certificates such as Advocates, Engineers and Architects. This Bill has received a lot of backlash from Professionals who are already paying hefty sums to their professional bodies. It has been argued that the proposed stamp duty would amount to double taxation for these professional. Download it here: https://www.abmadvocates.com/stamp-duty-amendment-bill-2020/

22. The Sugar Bill, 2019. This Bill had alot of controversy having been denied by the President several times due to lack of clarity in respect to zoning for sugar industry. This Bill was finally assented to by the President sometime in April, 2020.

23. The Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2019. The object of this Bill is to provide for a supplementary appropriation of funds from the Consolidated Fund to meet additional expenditures for the financial year 2018/2019.

24. The Traffic and Road Safety Act 1998 (Amendment) Bill, 2019. This Bill was assented by the President on the 22nd of May, 2020 and commenced on the 27th of May, 2020. The Act mainly seeks to improve the laws on motorists and provide for additional provisions. The Act provides for the renaming of driving permits to driving license and these will be applicable globally. It also introduces a new class of vehicle licenses for boda bodas and the licensing of online car companies such as UBER and Bolt. The Act also reintroduces the requirement for a certificate of fitness/road worthiness for vehicles that are older that 2 years from date of manufacture. The Act also imposes new and higher penalties for a series of offences. Download the Act here. https://www.abmadvocates.com/traffic-road-safety-am-act-2020/

25. The Tobacco Control (Amendment) Bill, 2020. This Bill seeks to provide for the taxation of processed and unprocessed tobacco. Download a copy here: https://www.abmadvocates.com/tobacco-control-amendment-bill-2020/