Parliament Greenlights Dissolution of National Records Agency

The National Records and Archives Agency is set to be dissolved, with its responsibilities transferred to the Ministry of Public Service following the enactment of the National Records and Archives (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

This legislative move aligns with the Government’s policy for Rationalization of Government Agencies and Public Expenditure (RAPEX), endorsed by Cabinet on 22nd February 2021 and passed into law on Tuesday, 27 February 2024.

According to Hon. Martin Mapenduzi Ojara, Chairperson of the Committee of Public Service and Local Government, while the National Records and Archives Act was established on 15th June 2001, the Agency never became operational. The Act aimed to streamline the management of all government and public records, their preservation, utilization, and disposal, among other related matters.

“The functions initially designated for the Agency have been and continue to be performed by the Ministry of Public Service. Therefore, the integration of these functions into the Ministry through the rationalization process outlined in the Bill is deemed appropriate,” explained Mapenduzi.

Hon. Wilson Muruli Mukasa, the Minister of Public Service, clarified that the staff of the National Records and Archives Agency are already part of the Ministry. He emphasized that the Agency remained dormant, with its functions effectively handled by the Ministry without incurring additional costs.

However, bills aimed at rationalizing several other agencies and departments were withdrawn due to the absence of Certificates of Financial Implication. These certificates, issued under the Public Finance Management Act, provide estimates of revenue and expenditure for at least two years following the enactment of a bill.

Deputy Chairperson of the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Yusuf Mutembuli, highlighted the procedural issue regarding amending a certificate of financial implication after a bill has been introduced. He suggested that the bills should be withdrawn and reintroduced in accordance with parliamentary rules.

Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka assured that the bills with insufficient certificates of financial implication were being amended to meet the requirements. These bills span various sectors including Works and Transport, Trade, Social Development, Education, Internal Affairs, Finance, Water and Environment, Agriculture, and Tourism.

Speaker Anita Among directed that the withdrawn bills would be resubmitted by the respective Ministers, while committees with pending reports would continue their work and update the House when ready.