Currency Squabble: The Landlord and Tenant Bill of 2018!

The most controversial provision in the The Landlord -Tenant Bill is that, requiring all rent to be paid in shillings rather than dollars as earlier proposed. Lands minister Betty Amongi has explained why all transactions must be done in shillings” (NTV Uganda, 05.07.2019).

The Members of Parliament and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) continues to insist there are some clauses or parts of the legislation that says there no regulation or stipulation, which says the tenants has to pay in Uganda Shillings and not in US Dollars. Alas, after screening throw it. There is none. Nothing, nada and no proof of UGX or a specific currency in play.

The MPs and the NRM must take people for fools, it is easy to download the bill from the Parliament web-page and browse through. You don’t have to be a legal scholar to understand the texts either.

Like Clause 23: “(1) The rent payable for any premises under a tenancy shall be determined by mutual agreement of the parties to the tenancy”. This here opens up a lot of can of worms. It does not specific say if should be paid in Euros, US Dollars or Shillings.

Some might say the continuation of the clause, which stipulates: “(2) All rent obligations or transactions shall be expressed, recorded and settled in the shilling, unless otherwise provided under any enactment, or is lawfully agreed to between the parties to an agreement under any lawful obligation”. Here it is specified, but there is a major but, the clause opens up for other lawfully agreements made between the parties. Meaning, you don’t have too, if you have a legal obligation between the parties. This is restricting it, but not deeming it unfit to pay in US Dollars.

By the clauses or codes in the law. There is by no clear definition of the tenant agreement needed to have it in shillings. These are the only one specific enough and they are not done properly. If the Members of Parliament and their legal teams had put it together. They would have settled with “shall be expressed, recorded and settled in the shilling and be paid in no other currency” end, stop. However, they made a reasonable suggestion and gave way.

Therefore, whatever the state says, the Minister and the news is broadcasting isn’t true. Unless, they have secret text, an draft, which was put in motion and amended to the bill. Which by my estimate, doesn’t exist, other than in the minds of those who enacted the law. The minister have not established, which provision or clause, which mentions only pay in shilling. Because there is none. It does not act that way.

This is bad work of the state, lazy work of the MPs and embarrassing performance by the Minister Amongi. Who really just thinking that people cannot understand or reads the bill their passing. Because, in the provision in question, there is byline, a loophole giving way to pay the rent in other currencies.

Therefore, the next time you guys make laws or bills. Ensure the provisions are there and has the wording, the intended purpose and crafted in way, which doesn’t put the important change in the law in question. Which this one does. Peace.

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