The adoption of the revised Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority Bill has left some legislators confused about the rationale used to push for the amendments, with members of opposition parties voting against the law.
The draft law which awaits to be gazetted was adopted last week by the lower chamber of parliament despite concerns on unnecessary authority of the aviation body and a need to detach itself from the Ministry of Infrastructure to become an autonomous regulatory organ.
Established in 2011 to regulate and oversee the civil aviation industry in the country, the draft law had also been tabled to demand financial and administrative independence claiming it can now fully finance its activities.
According to Theogene Munyangeyo, chairperson of the parliamentary committee in charge of economy and trade, which scrutinised the Bill, the revision of the draft law was timely since the institution has been making a lot of money from aeronautical and non-aeronautical fees charged at airports.
“This draft law was tabled in order to harmonise with international standards on safety and security, it can now wean off government budget to finance its own operations from fees collected at the airport,” he said.
Mr Munyangeyo said that even though the aviation regulatory body can currently finance its operations, it will be given six more months to prepare its financial independence strategy.
According to the draft law, in the event the body needs emergency funds, it can get from the government without needing parliament’s approval.
However, the rationale used to push for the change was not welcomed by all members of the house, as some expressed discomfort on the solicited autonomy saying the body would still need an overseer, a caretaker ministry or a strong board of directors.
“How does RCAA come up with its own status different from that governing other public servants; there is even a provision in the law allowing members of RCAA to designate their own salaries, how is that possible? said Ignatienne Nyirarukundo.
Two members of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda voted against the Bill, while members of the Imberakuri Socialist Party were absent.