Jul 12, 2013 News
By Zena Henry
Several considerations before Special Parliamentary Select Committees are likely to be reported on at the next July 18 sitting of the National Assembly, but this might not be the case with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon told media operatives that the time may just be too soon – especially when word is, that the Special Select Committee tasked with tackling the Amendment Bill has not yet started considerations. The disclosure was made yesterday at the post-Cabinet weekly press briefing at Office of the President.
He said that Bills for the next parliamentary sitting would be those at stages where reports could be produced based on the culmination of deliberations by the Special Select Committees.
“I think under no stretch of the imagination, would a date as early as July 18, allow for a consideration by the select committee of that Bill.” “Cabinet has been informed that the Select Committee has not even gotten around as yet for the consideration of the Bill,” Luncheon said.
He continued that the Select Committee is addressing submissions that have been invited from the public and entities concerned. “So there is no way that July 18 can see anything close to a report on the Anti -Money Laundering Amendment Act.”
Additionally, Luncheon pointed out that in relation to the happenings of parliament, “Expectations are not high that there would be any difference in the proceedings from that which has been going on in the immediate past.”
Nonetheless, he said there has been significant consideration of reports on the four Local Government Bills and the Deeds Registry Amendment Bill among others.
On the floor for discussion, he added, are legislative instruments dealing with the Amaila Falls Hydro Electric Project and the Hydro Power Act and its Amendment and the Debt Ceiling Amendment Order.
In the meantime, as it relates to opposition requests of Amendments to the Public Procurement Bill against the support for the Anti-Money Laundering Amendment Bill, it is believed that that too may be unlikely.
Luncheon said the government has spent a lot of time trying to explain to the opposition collectively, individually, orally and in writing, why Cabinet’s role should be persevered in the contract award process.
He said that the approach to parliament with amendments to the Procurement Act in the absence of a commitment by the opposition, not to oppose to even support the amendments, would be a disaster. Luncheon said once the opposition continues as entrenched as they seem on the issue, they would vote against the amendments, while the convention is that the amendment could not be brought back to the tenth parliament.
For the government, an understanding and an agreement with the opposition is necessary.
“Why go to parliament, have the amendment not supported, rejected, and close the door for the life of the whole tenth parliament to have this matter resolved in concept with the administration’s advice.”
“The appeal is on all possible levels, for a proper consideration of what the administration is advancing, so indeed, the role of cabinet with procurement – specifically it’s no objections – would be preserved, the amendment approved, and move seriously in concluding the entire series of interventions that have been carrying over time.”
The opposition, specifically the Alliance for Change (AFC), has demanded that immediate consideration be put into a date for establishing the Public Procurement Commission, before any support goes into amendments of laws on financial crimes.
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