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House Reconsiders Museums and Monument Bill to Allow Sustainable Utilization of Mineral Resources

The House has given the Museums and Monument Bill, 2022 another look after the President returned it in November 2022.

House Reconsiders Museums and Monument Bill to Allow Sustainable Utilization of Mineral Resources

The House has given the Museums and Monument Bill, 2022 another look after the President returned it in November 2022.

During the plenary session on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, which was presided over by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, the Bill was passed for the second time, taking into account all of the President’s concerns and amending the definition of a mineral and mineral rights as well as the description of a list of protected areas under schedule 2 to the Bill.

The Bill was initially approved on September 15, 2022.

In order to permit the sustainable use of mineral resources and the preservation of the natural heritage, the House gave clause 93(2) of the Bill another look.

“The basis for this suggestion is that the existing draft would subject mining rights to any action taken under the Museums and Monuments Act and is too wide, generic, and harmful to mineral rights.

The proposed draft limits mining rights while still protecting the environment, according to Hon. Mwine Mpaka, head of the committee on tourism, trade, and industry.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development is currently researching some of the protected areas for the potential development of geothermal resources, so the schedule should, in their opinion, be given more careful consideration. During the debate, the House deleted the entire second schedule under clause 29(5) of the bill, which listed protected museums, sites, and monuments.

Mpaka added that even the monuments declared are not specific in nature, and that the majority of the old buildings or historical sites being declared under the schedule have no historical significance that would warrant their declaration as historical monuments. This was done to support the removal of the second schedule.

But there are still a number of locations that might qualify as “national heritage” that have not been classified in accordance with the schedule.

The second schedule to the bill should be completely removed, and the resulting statutory instrument should be submitted to Parliament for approval, he said.

MPs’ concerns about enacting a measure without a schedule outlining the locations that will be considered national heritage sites were allayed by Deputy Speaker Tayebwa.

We have a solution for this because the President explicitly states in his letter that we should consult widely on the issue. We have provided the minister a window to introduce a schedule and statutory instrument, which we can demand be tabled on the floor, rather than passing a bill that is explosive, Tayebwa added.

The three sites that should be taken off the schedule’s list of protected areas are the Panyimur Fossil Site in Pakwach District, the Acherer Gold Mines in Nakapiripirit, and the Kilembe Mines in Kasese.

As passed, the Museums and Monument Bill aims to enhance and provide institutional structure for effective management of the environment, cultural and natural heritage resources, and the environment.

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