Ministerial jobs cut

THE number of ministers to be appointed to serve in Government will not be more than 30 if the Bill before Parliament goes through without amendments and receives presidential assent.

Currently, with the powers vested in the President, Cabinet ministers are 23 while deputy ministers are 35 – bringing the total number to 58.

In the amended Constitution, the President after the August 11 general election will not have power to appoint more than 30 ministers.

The President in the new Constitution has no luxury of the position of deputy ministers as it was scrapped.

On Tuesday, Justice Minister Ngosa Simbyakula presented the Bill which has been referred to a Parliamentary committee in accordance with Article 116 of the amended Constitution.

When enacted without amendments, it means the President can only have a maximum of 30 ministers and 10 provincial ministers.

“This Act may be cited as the Ministers (Prescribed Number and Responsibilities) Act, 2016. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, words and terms used in this Act have the meaning assigned to them in the Constitution. For purposes of Article 116 (1), the number of ministers to be appointed by the President shall not be more than 30.

“Without prejudice to the generality of Article 116 (2) of the Constitution, a minister is responsible for (a) the business of Government in the National Assembly relating to the minister’s statutory functions or control and as assigned; (b) the introduction and implementation of legislation, as is assigned; and (c) provision to the National Assembly of information and reports relating to matters under the minister’s statutory functions or control as the National Assembly requires,” reads the Bill in part.

In accordance with the amended Constitution, the Bill also outlines the roles of ministers and circumstances under which their positions could be declared vacant such as death, revoking of their nomination by Parliament in the case of nominated Members of Parliament, or if they resign.

“The President shall appoint a prescribed number of Members of Parliament as ministers. (2) A minister shall be responsible, under the direction of the President, for the policy and strategic direction of a ministry, department or other State institution, as assigned by the President.

(3) The office of minister becomes vacant if (a) the minister is removed from office by the President; (b) the minister resigns by notice in writing to the President; (c) in the case of a nominated Member of Parliament, the nomination is revoked; (d) the minister dies; (e) another person assumes the Office of President; or (f) the minister has a mental or physical disability that makes the minister incapable of performing the functions of that office.

“The President shall appoint a provincial minister for each province from among Members of Parliament. (2) The office of provincial minister becomes vacant if (a) the provincial minister is removed from office by the President; (b) the provincial minister resigns by notice in writing to the President; (c) the provincial minister dies; (d) another person assumes the Office of President; (e) the provincial minister has a mental or physical disability that makes the provincial minister incapable of performing the functions of that office,” reads the Bill.

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