The August House this evening passed the Genetic Engineering Regulatory Act 2018 previous known as the National Bio-Technology and Bio-Safety Bill. This was passed with amendments as recommended by the president of the republic of Uganda.
President Museveni returned the bill to the House and Committee on Science and Technology for reconsideration seeking for clarification on the title of the Bill, patent rights of indigenous farmers and sanctions for scientists who mix genetically modified organisms (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.
It should be noted that in the House that sat 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 in January.
This afternoon, the bill was passed with massive support from the legislators. It will now be forwarded to the president for signing and expected to function with immediate effect.
The Bill requires 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.