President Museveni has declined to sign The Minimum Wages Bill, 2018 into law sabasabaupdates has learnt.
According to his letter dated 21st August 2019 addressed to Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, the President rejected the Bill and accordingly returned it to Parliament.
Parliament in February 2019, passed the Minimum Wage Bill, 2015 that seeks to set up a minimum wage determination mechanism across different sectors of the economy.
The Bill seeks to empower the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development to appoint a Minimum wages Board to fix all minimum wages for various sectors. In its current form, the Bill also mandates the Minister to announce the minimum wages annually.
Kadaga communicated the President’s decision on Tuesday during the plenary session saying that the President had written to her indicating his decision not to sign the Bill following advice from the Attorney General William Byaruhanga.
President Museveni says that there are no gaps in the Minimum Wages Advisory Board and the Wages Council Act that the Bill seeks to cure. He argues that the current law is adequate and enforceable.
The president further says that Cabinet still awaits a report from the Ministry of Gender on the implications of fixing a minimum wage to investment and the economy to enable them make an informed decision.
The Bill was presented to parliament by a private member Hon. Arinaitwe Rwakajara the Workers MP, and considered by Parliament’s Gender Committee. Rwakajara was recently quoted saying that his Bill was not necessarily mean higher salaries for workers but rather creation of harmony between employers and employees.
President Museveni has severally expressed displeasure at fixing a minimum wage for workers expressing worries on its effect to the investment sector in the country.
While responding to to wage demands made by workers’ representatives during his speech he delivered to employers and workers on April 19th, 2000, Museveni candidly offered his personal views on Uganda’s wage market: The President said there is need to address the question; “What will stimulate investment in our country: is it high wages or low wages?” If yes, “how will we do it?” The President queried.