Parliament has passed the Genetic Engineering Regulatory Bill, 2018, formerly known as the National Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill. The bill seeks to provide a regulatory framework for safe development and application of biotechnology and release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Parliament earlier passed the same bill on October 4, 2017 but President Yoweri Museveni declined to assent to it and sent it back to parliament for review. The president specifically sought clarity on the title, patent rights of indigenous farmers and sanctions for scientists who mix GMOs with indigenous crops and animals.
In its report tabled before parliament on [November 28], Fred Bwino the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on Science, Technology and Innovation, admitted that the initial Bill had shortfalls and proposed amendments that were adopted by parliament. These included renaming the bill to ‘The Genetic Engineering Regulatory Bill, 2018’.
The new Bill also makes the owner of any patent legally responsible for any effects that might result from his creation …. It also provides for containment of confined field trials in green houses to guarantee separation of indigenous seeds from genetically modified seeds ….
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