Member of Parliament for Lilongwe Msozi South Vitus Dzoole Mwale Tuesday questioned government’s commitment to table the Access to Information in the current meeting of Parliament.
Mwale raised the concern when he noted that the Bill was not appearing on the Order Paper.
“The most important Bill is not on the Order Paper. Is there any commitment from government [to have this Bill passed in this meeting]? It is out of order because the Bill is not appearing here [On the order Paper],” Dzoole Mwale said.
First Deputy Speaker, Esther Mcheka Chilenje, ruled Dzoole Mwale out of order.
“This is government business. Government determines the order of business. Maybe it may come today or tomorrow or any other day,” Chilenje-Nkhoma said.
The Order Paper Dzoole Mwale cited has six new bills. These include Bill No. 15 of 2015 Southern Africa Development Association (Southern Africa Trade and Transport Facilitation Phase 2) Loan (Authorisation), Bill No. 23 of 2015: Credit Reference Bureau (Amendment) and Bill No. 22 of 2015: Payment System.
Other bills appearing on the paper are Bill No. 6 of 2015: Malawi Institute of Procurement and Supply, Bill No: 11 of 2015: Electronic Transactions and Bill No. 24 of 2015: Communication.
Access to Information Bill is not one of the bills on the order Paper.
When opening the 46th Session of Parliament, President Peter Mutharika did not specify as to when the Bill will be tabled in the House.
“Mr. Speaker, Sir, this sitting or Parliament will play a very critical role recreating our policy framework. You will pass very important bills that Malawians are waiting for. Some of the bills to be tabled during this Session include the long-awaited Access to Information Bill; Communications Bill; the Credit Reference Bureaux Bill; the Land Bill; the Customary Land Bill; and the Payment Systems Bill. I am certain that it is in our interest to support and pass these bills because Malawi, our country, needs them,” Mutharika said.
A session is made up of several meetings. The current meeting, which ends early December, may not tackle the issue.
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