The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, yesterday directed the Finance minister, Mr Matia Kasaija, to ask President Museveni to act fast and a deputy governor for Bank of Uganda (BoU).
Ms Kadaga was responding to a government statement on the vacuum at Bank of Uganda.
In the statement read by the State Minister of Finance, Mr Haruna Kasolo, Mr Kasaija sought to allay fears that the delayed appointment of a new deputy governor had created a crisis at the central bank.
Mr Kasolo had told Parliament that all is well at the bank despite the vacuum.
“I would like to assure you and the country that the Governor Bank of Uganda, together with the board and management are fully in charge of the bank’s affairs,” Mr Kasolo said, adding that “there is no reason for concern about any lapse with respect to its policies and strategic direction.”
The Speaker, however, rejected the minister’s reassurances and instead asked Mr Kasolo to tell the President to act quickly and appoint a deputy governor as the law requires.
“I think it is not right to say that there is no cause for concern, you should ask the appointing authority to act faster,” Ms Kadaga said.
Mr Kasolo promised to remind the President.
On February 14, Parliament directed the Finance minister to respond to concerns about the crisis at BoU and unexplained delay to fill the deputy governor’s job.
The matter was raised by Igara West MP Michael Mawanda, saying business at the central bank had stalled since there was no one performing the responsibilities of deputy governor.
Mr Kasaija sent Mr Kasolo to deliver his explanation on the matter.
In the statement, Mr Kasaija said there was no cost implication following the departure of Dr Louis Kasekende last January.
The minister said he wrote to the President to renew Mr Kasekende’s contract after it expired but he did not respond.
“On November 14, 2019, I wrote a letter to the President, informing him that the then Deputy Governor Dr Kasekende’s contract was expiring on January 1, 2020, and further requested him for action,” Mr Kasaija stated.
“The President is duly considering this matter and in due course he will make a final decision and communicate to you as provided for in the Constitution,” he added.
Mr Mawanda, however, told the House yesterday that the statement was blind to the fact that the Governor and Deputy Governor’s roles are too critical to simply be left to the Board.
He demanded that the Finance minister appoints an acting deputy governor as the President finalises the appointment to avoid a crisis in the management of the central bank.
Mr Mawanda also told Daily Monitor that the Governor is overwhelmed since he is currently performing both roles.
He said clients of the defunct Greenland Bank recently held a high level meeting where no one represented BoU.
“When I went and asked the BoU, I was told there was no one nominated and that the board would not nominated anyone,” Mr Mawanda said.
The appointment of the deputy governor for Bank of Uganda is provided for under Article 161, Clause 3(a) of the Constitution. It states that: “The Governor, the Deputy Governor and Members of the Board shall be (a) appointed by the President with the Approval of Parliament.”