By Umaru Kashaka
MPs on the committee of trade and industry have tasked the state minister for trade and industry David Wakikona to explain why they have failed to come up with a legal framework to institutionalize Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) despite the approval of its establishment principles by Cabinet two years ago.
This was during their Tuesday meeting with the officials from the ministry led by the minister over the national budget framework paper for financial year 2014/15.
Legislators heard that in 2012, Cabinet approved the principles for establishment of UDC as a Statutory Corporation and directed the minister of trade and the First Parliamentary Council to draft the UDC Bill which was done and completed in September 2013.
“What is the legal status of UDC and who is now carrying out the functions of the secretary as provided for in section 42(2) in the absence of the Board?” the committee chairperson and Lyantonde Woman MP, Grace Namara, asked.
The minister explained that for his ministry to return to Cabinet with the Bill requires a Certificate of Financial Implication, which the ministry of finance has not provided together with UDC capitalization.
“Owing to this, UDC does not have a legal status of its own yet the 1952 UDC Act was repealed. UDC therefore continues to operate under subvention from my ministry until passing of the Bill into an Act,” he stated.
He argued that due to lack of the Act, the ministry has no authority to appoint the statutory governing structure of UDC, including the secretary to the Board.
“Since it was never anticipate that the law would take the duration it has taken, the minister (Amelia Kyambadde) thought it wise to first constitute a legally sound entity then follow up with the necessary enabling structure,” he said.
Wakikona stressed that in the interim however, a skeleton structure continues to carry on the activities of the anticipated UDC while reporting to the minister as its Board.
The Government took a decision to re-establish UDC in 2008 to be the overall government arm for all public investments in all sectors.
It’s also mandated to invest in strategic sectors of the economy to trigger the industrial and economic development of Uganda.
Minister Wakikona grilled over UDC