Bunge resumes after weekend, Idd recess

THE National Assembly resumes here today after the long weekend and Idd recess when MPs will continue discussing the Government Chemist Laboratory Authority Bill 2016 and the Chemist Professionals Bill of 2016.

According to a timetable availed by the parliament office here, legislators will continue discussing the two bills today and thereafter approve them in the evening.

The debate on the two bills, started on Friday last week after they were presented by the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu.

Among others, the Government Chemist Laboratory Authority Bill seeks to provide for establishment of ‘supreme and referral ‘lab in the country. The bill also seeks to give full autonomy to the Chief Government Chemist in regard to laboratory analysis of poisons, chemicals and other related samplings.

In her presentation, Ms Mwalimu assured lawmakers that the proposed bill will not dismiss or alter any presiding law to promote efficiency on to other laws governing the government chemist’s operations.

But the Parliamentary Committee on Community Development said the law establishing the government chemist laboratory authority needs to be checked so it does not interfere with the Tanzania Bureau of Statistics (TBS) and the Tanzania Foods and Drug Authority (TFDA).

Section 4 of the bill states: the Authority shall be the supreme and referral laboratory of the government of the United Republic of Tanzania and shall perform other functions as stipulated under this act.

Presenting the views of the committee, Kigamboni MP and member of the committee Dr Faustine Ndugulile (CCM), outlined that the authority will need an additional of 108 professionals to operate effectively.

“There only 192 officers at the unit and for the unit to be well equipped it requires some 300 professionals,” he said. Considering the number of duties ahead of the authority, the committee said a sufficient budget is needed to procure equipment including a DNA machine.

According to Dr Ndugulile, the available single DNA facility is defective and needs regular repairs.

On the other hand, the proposed Chemist Professionals’ Bill, 2016 aims to see an establishment of council of chemist professionals that will supervise, revoke and/or cancel certificates. Parliamentary Committee on Community Development lauded the government move saying it would help check against bogus chemist professionals.

“Considering a rapid growth of industry, health, mineral, agriculture and entrepreneurship there has been a considerable rise of fake chemist posing serious threats in the country,” Dr Jasmine Tiisekwa, a committee member informed the House.

The Opposition Camp in the house, on their part, said the law should give more power to the appointing authority regarding decisions of the council.

After the schedules are approved today, parliamentarians will tomorrow start deliberations on the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute Bill and the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute Bill 2016.

“There will be the normal question and answer session on Wednesday and Thursday to be followed on debate on the two bills which are expected to be approved Thursday evening,” the timetable showed.

The fourth meeting of 11th Parliament is scheduled to be concluded on Friday when the Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, will deliver a closing speech soon after the question-and-answer session.

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