National Assembly goes on recess

13 Nov 2015 07:10am
WINDHOEK, 13 NOV (NAMPA) – The Sixth Parliament entered recess after passing the Appropriation Amendment Bill on Thursday.
Parliament will resume on 09 February 2016.
The National Assembly (NA) also rounded off its operations and agenda with a debate on the second reading of the Access to Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge Bill that will regulate access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.
More importantly, it will protect the rights of the local communities over genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge and technologies, to provide for a fair and equitable mechanism for benefit sharing.
The Bill will establish the necessary administrative structures and processes for the implementation and enforcement of such principles and provide for incidental matters.
The NA Thursday agreed to refer the Bill to the relevant committee at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) for discussion, expecting it to be returned to the NA within 90 days.
Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta said during his motivation when he tabled the Bill in the NA on Tuesday, the development of a critical path for the sustainable commercialisation of indigenous natural products will benefit the entire Namibian economy.
He also noted that it is local communities that possess traditional knowledge that need to benefit from their local resources.
Therefore, these communities need protection against over-harvesting, outside exploitation of resources and unfair treatment by external users of these resources.
The Bill will thus form the basis for Namibia's legal framework for potential future benefit sharing agreement and other mechanisms to ensure that traditional communities receive recognition for their traditional knowledge and gain a fair share from the commercialisation of products based on this knowledge.
Some of the Bills tabled and/or passed in the NA this year included the Child Care and Protection Bill.
The Bill was passed in the National Assembly March 2015.
It provides a legislative framework to give effect to some rights of children that are yet to be fully realised, such as the provision of a children’s fund, the right to foster care, as well as a National Advisory Council for Children and to give effect to certain rights of children as contained in the Namibian Constitution.
The Judiciary Bill of 2015 with amendments was also passed in October this year, with the aim to make the judiciary more independent.
The Bill seeks to amend the Judicial Service Commission Act, No 18 of 1995.
The Bill will aid the judiciary in performing its pivotal function in interpreting the law and upholding the values that underpin it without fear or favour. This means more than ensuring formal security of tenure of judicial officers and eradicating perception of bias.
The reviewed Public Procurement Bill which sparked a lot of debate in the NA and the public was also tabled in the National Assembly (NA) by the Finance Minister in September 2015.
The Bill was first tabled but withdrawn from Parliament in October 2013 when many concerns were raised.
Many Members of Parliament felt there was not enough consultation before the Bill was tabled and that it proposed the establishment of too many offices, which could lead to bureaucracy.
The revised legislation seeks to open up participation in the government’s procurement system to small and medium enterprises and previously disadvantaged persons, as well as give preference to women and youth.
This year, the number of Members of Parliament (MPs) increased with an additional 26 MPs, from 78 to a total of 104, together with the swearing in of a new Government on 21 March 2015.
Professor Peter Katjavivi was also officially sworn in as the new Speaker of the NA, taking over from veteran politician Theo-Ben Gurirab.