It was a moment of excitement as the August House referred the National Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill, 2012 to the Committee on Science and Technology for reconsideration.
This comes after the President declined to assent to the Bill and asking Parliament to clarify on the title of the Bill, patent rights of indigenous farmers and sanctions for scientists who mix GMOs with indigenous crops and animals.
Article 91(3) of the Constitution states that, the President shall within thirty days; a) assent to the Bill; b) return the Bill to Parliament with a request that the Bill or a particular provision of it be reconsidered by Parliament; or c) notify the Speaker in writing that he or she refuses to assent to the Bill.
In the House sitting on Thursday, 11th January 2018, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, moved a motion for reconsideration of the Bill as returned by the President.
“This motion and the Bill are not subject to debate, I therefore refer the Bill to the appropriate Committee to look at the issues raised by the President and report to the House in two weeks,” said the Rt. Hon. Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah.
The National Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill, 2012 was first introduced during the 9th Parliament in February 2013. It was eventually considered by the 10th Parliament.
The Bill sought to provide a regulatory framework that facilitates the safe development and application of modern biotechnology in Uganda by among others providing mechanisms to regulate research, development and general release of genetically modified organisms.