Despite the position’s influence on the country’s economy, it appears that the appointment of a substantial Governor of the 11th Bank of Uganda (BoU) is not on the appointing authority’s list of priorities, according to the analysts.
Indeed, it has now been nearly three months since the post of Governor of the Central Bank became vacant following the death of Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile.
Mutebile had been at the head of the bank for 20 years.
The delay in appointing the incumbent governor is not helped by the fact that there are no guidelines in the law stipulating when this should happen.
Part IV of the Bank of Uganda Act 2000 states: “There shall be a Governor who shall be a person of recognized financial or banking experience and shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Cabinet.”
To fill the gap in the law, some legal scholars are now of the view that specific guidelines should be developed by Parliament to help the appointing authority to act within specific timeframes.
“I think there should be guidelines given to deal with this situation. And it shouldn’t be difficult. It should just be enshrined in the Bank of Uganda Act,” said Mr. Wandera Ogalo, a legal consultant. Daily monitor yesterday.
He added: “There shouldn’t be such a long period of time that a vacancy of such magnitude as a governorship becomes vacant. All that is required are clear guidelines that will compel the appointing authority to fill the position within the time required.
The constitutional lawyer said that currently, “you can never tell when the president will deem it necessary to appoint a replacement.” This is because he might be content with an acting position or the status quo because it saves him from appointing someone he might possibly not like.
As for seasoned economist and researcher Dr. Lawrence Bategeka, the appointment of a substantive governor is long overdue.
“Somebody has to be there to help stimulate the economy. But it’s unfortunate that as we speak nobody is responsible for that,” said Dr Bategeka, who is also the former lawmaker of the municipality of Hoima, in an interview yesterday.
Although the current Deputy Governor is knowledgeable, Dr. Bategeka believes he does not take responsibility for everything that happens as a substantive appointment would.
“The position of Deputy Governor is operational,” he added.
However, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Matia Kasaija, has noted that the Deputy Governor can competently manage the affairs of the Central Bank without any qualms until the appropriate person is appointed.
“There is no problem with the functioning of the functions of the central bank. The deputy governor is in charge – and who knows, the president may decide to have him elevated to this position because, as we speak, he acts by fulfilling the role of governor,” Mr. Kasaija said in an interview yesterday.
He added: “You are telling the country that there is no danger for the central bank by not having a substantial governor. As we speak, there is no vacuum because we have a person who assumes the role of governor and who is able to manage everything that needs to be managed.
When the Bank of Uganda Board of Directors in March 2020 selected one of the Principal Directors to serve as Deputy Governor, it took around 24 hours for President Museveni to announce the appointment of Dr Michael Atingi-Ego to fill the position previously held by Dr. Louis Kasekende whose five-year term ended on January 14, 2020.