International groups and Ugandan civil society activists have expressed disappointment with a long awaited Natural Resources Committee report that was finally tabled in parliament last Thursday.
For the last seven months the committee has held extensive public and private consultations on two petroleum bills to regulate the development of Uganda’s oil industry. The draft bills, prepared by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, were strongly criticised by civic groups for giving too much power to the Minister responsible for oil, with relatively little parliamentary oversight.
The committee’s report, a copy of which Oil in Uganda has seen, does not propose to trim the powers of the Minister, however. It recommends the introduction of several clauses to ensure the involvement of parliament and cabinet in decision making processes, but the minister still remains supreme. Read More
As Uganda’s parliament prepares to debate a long-awaited report on the Petroleum Bills, finally submitted by the Natural Resources Committee, a disgruntled member of that committee has secured permission to present his own, ‘minority report’ to the house.
Lubaga South MP, John Ken Lukyamuzi (CP), rose on a point of procedure after the Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee had introduced the committee’s views on the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill 2012, and requested the Speaker to allow him to table his own report.
Parliamentary rules provide for a committee member or members who disagree with the rest of the committee to table their own report, referred to as a Minority Report. Read More
“I sense this is the defining battle. Let those who are on the Lord’s side stand up and be counted,” wrote Uganda Revenue Authority Commissioner, Allen Kagina, in an email to senior colleagues, as behind-closed-doors arbitration proceedings opened in London last week to settle a dispute between the government of Uganda and Heritage Oil. Read More
Uganda plans to create a Petroleum Authority to regulate the oil industry and a National Oil Company to partner with international oil companies in extracting and marketing the resources. In a second report from Ghana, Oil in Uganda staff writer, Chris Musiime, describes the role and evolution of similar institutions in that country. Whilst at first sight Ghana appears to have followed a ‘fast track’ from oil discovery to oil production, this report shows that in fact the country has a long history both of oil exploration and of efforts to develop an institutional framework to manage the industry. Read More
A senior official in Uganda’s Internal Security Organization (ISO), Major Herbert Asiimwe Muramagi, has been named in a complex land dispute in oil-rich Hoima District where, some locals allege, in April of last year he bought 1,200 hectares of land from an entity that had no right to sell it.
Members of the community in Kisukuma Parish, Kigorobya sub-county, further allege that when they resisted demands to vacate the land for the new owner they were beaten and arrested by armed police and soldiers.
When contacted by telephone on July 4, however, Major Muramagi—who is Maritime Director of the ISO, responsible for security on Lake Albert —denied involvement. “It is all lies. I do not own any land in Hoima and I have never owned land in Hoima,” he told Oil in Uganda.
While the Natural Resources Committee of Uganda’s parliament scrutinises the draft petroleum bills tabled in February, an ad hoc parliamentary committee set up last year is investigating allegations of corruption in the oil sector. MPs evidently feel they have an important role to play. But what should that role be? Read More
The Minister for Information in the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom has urged government to give special consideration to people in the oil producing areas as compensation for losses they may incur once oil production begins.
“Our people are going to face the effects of environmental degradation, social and political problems. They deserve additional benefits over and above other Ugandans,” said Moses Kirungi. “How can you hunt an animal on my land, slaughter it and take away all the meat without leaving some of the kill for the owner?” Read More
Oil transparency activists were disappointed by a ruling against them yesterday in Nakawa High Court, Kampala, but have vowed to continue a legal battle to require the government of Uganda to publish Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) that it has reached with international oil companies.
Lady Justice Faith Mwhonda rejected an application from the African Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) and three other civil society organisations for permission to present evidence at an appeal by two journalists against a separate ruling which denied them access to the PSAs. Read More
The Petroleum (Exploration Production and Development) Bill currently being reviewed by the Natural Resources Committee of Uganda’s parliament is “detailed, well thought out and covers a lot of bases” but contains some ambiguities and in some respects is “tilted in favour of oil companies,” an international expert told civil society representatives in Kampala on Thursday. Read More
Bills to regulate Uganda’s oil and gas sector, tabled in parliament in February, leave too much power in the hands of the minister in charge of petroleum and fall short on transparency, accountability and environmental protection, according to international NGO and academic critics.
“Tight ministerial control, absence of parliamentary oversight and a lack of guarantees on contract and financial transparency remain key features of both Bills,” according to the UK based NGO, Global Witness in a new report, Uganda’s petroleum legislation: Safeguarding the sector. Read More