On 16th December 2016, the Chairperson and Members of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) met the Rt. Hon. Rebecca A. Kadaga in her chambers at Parliament to share EOC’s report on the findings from the assessments of Sector Budget Framework Papers to compliance with Gender and Equity requirements which the Commission conducted in the month of December 2016. Among the dignitaries who attended the hand over meeting was Hon. Mohammed Nsereko – Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Committee of Parliament, Hon. Hellen Grace Asamo – Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Equal Opportunities in Parliament, Ms. Margret Komuhangi – Chairperson of the Committee on Gender, Labor and Social Development and Hon. Jovah Kamateeka – Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee in Parliament.
The EOC was represented by the Chairperson – Mrs. Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi, the Vice Chairperson – Mr. Dennis Nduhura Mwebaze, Member Zaminah Malole, Member Patrobas Sirabo Wafula, Member Joel Cox Ojuko and Mr. Evans Jjemba – the Senior Compliance and Reporting Officer.
In reaction to the presentation made by the EOC, the Hon. Speaker of Parliament commended the Equal Opportunities Commission for conducting the assessments adding that Uganda is the first country in the world to Gender and Equity budgeting and planning. She further requested for the criteria which was used to grade the sectors noting that concerns like poor sanitation, low student attendance have been identified in the education sector. The Rt. Hon. Speaker also inquired whether grading the sectors involved considering the number of female employees with contracts. She requested the Commission to disseminate the assessment guidelines to the public to enable them have access to this information. She concluded by informing the meeting that she informed all clerks to ensure all Ministries, departments and agencies have certificates of compliance from MoFPED. This she said will promote the Commission’s mandate among all these institutions.
Hon. Margret Komuhangi congratulated the Commission for having successfully conducted the assessment. She requested the Commission to train all the Members of Parliament on these assessment tools used and further implored the Commission to draft compacts for all the 16 sectors in the country.
In his remarks, Mr. Mohammed Nsereko – Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Committee requested the Commission to ensure the assessment tools are explicit to enable the average Ugandan understand them. Among the queries he made was whether equity is addressed by all these sectors and whether there is equal representation from all regions. Mr. Nsereko further requested the Commission to make the tools understandable to the Equal Opportunities Committee of Parliament since they are frequently in touch with the masses.
Hon. Hellen Grace Asamo made a case that all the Parliamentary Committees are not aware of these tools and therefore urged the Commission to train them on the tools used. She said this would give the Members of Parliament an opportunity to identify the existing loopholes in the Budget Framework papers and Ministerial Policy Statements.
In response to the issues raised, Mrs. Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi took the Hon. Speaker through the objectives of the assessments, the assessment approach and grading, the compliance level of all sectors to concerns of Gender and Equity. Out of the 13 assessed sectors, 10 scored at least 50% and these are recommended to be issued with a certificate of compliance with Gender and Equity for the Financial Year 2017/2018. These include the Social Development sector, Health, Security, Education, Water and environment, Public Administration, ICT, Tourism, Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Works and Transport.
Sectors which scored below the pass mark include Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Mineral Development and the Accountability sector. Three sectors never submitted their Budget Framework Papers for assessment.
Ms. Sylvia requested the three sectors which did not achieve the minimum qualifying score to ensure they fulfill the necessary requirements in order to be recommended to MoFPED and be issued Certificates of Gender and Equity Compliance and commended institutions whose tremendous contributions enable compilation of the Assessment Report. These include the National Task Force on Gender and Equity, Parliament of the Republic of Uganda, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, World Health Organization, Civil Society Organizations like FOWODE, Civil Service College Uganda and academic institutions.