Senators, deputies differ on military shop bill
A joint chamber of Deputies-Senatorial committee will have to first agree on who should approve new outlets of a proposed Armed Forces Shop (AFOS) before the bi-cameral parliament approves the bill.
This was the conclusion of a chamber of deputies standing committee on trade in a report to the Lower House on Monday – after considering amendments from the Senate.
Previously, the standing committee had proposed that AFOS outlets would be approved by a Prime Minister’s Order.
But in the draft law that returned from the Senate, the Upper House changed article three of the bill to give the powers to military shop Board of Directors.
Members of the chamber of deputies are against this arrangement arguing it would be setting a bad precedent since such decisions are always a prerogative of the Prime Minister’s Office.
MP Desire Nyandwi said the government’s proposal that the AFOS Board be allowed to make such the decision to open new outlets arguing it would save time, was dangerous.
“The reason they [ministry of defence] gave was that decisions would be taken faster. The Senate should not be taking the same route,” he argued.
Article 3 states that the head office of the AFOS shall be located in the City of Kigali but may be transferred elsewhere in the country if deemed necessary.
While tabling the bill on May 22, Defence minister Gen. James Kabarebe told the House that AFOS will not be abused as the possibility of ‘leakages’ had been given due attention.”
According to the bill, AFOS will provide active military and police personnel with goods at a duty free cost.
AFOS will draw its capital from the national budget, and will be subject to audit by the Office of the Auditor General.
Contact email: karuhanga.james[at]newtimes.co.rw