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Hope as Uganda embarks on EITI signup process

Government has so far
formed a Muti-Stakeholder Group (MSG) –
acritical body towards the implementation of EITI.

Uganda
has embarked on a journey that could see the country become the newest
implementing country for Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
(EITI).  For a country,

where
the exploitation of oil, gas and minerals is shrouded in secrecy and with accusations
of corruption, joining EITI is an important milestone in entrenching transparency,
accountability and good governance of the extractive industry.

Cabinet
decision in January, 2019 to EITI followed ten years of advocacy mainly by
civil society and some government officials. Established in 2003, EITI is a
global standard for good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources.

Under
the initiative, an implementing country is required to publish an annual EITI
report – disclosing information on; contracts, licences, volumes of oil, how
much is produced, how much is paid and received, how revenues from the sector is
utilised.

To
become an EITI implementing country, Uganda has to complete the 5 sign up
steps.  Step 1 is the establishment of a
Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) with clear objectives and an agreed work plan for
EITI implementation.

With
the help of MSG, government will submit the EITI candidature application to the
EITI board. Once the board admits Uganda as an EITI candidate, the implementing
county publishes the 1st annual report in line with EITI standards within
eighteen (18) months. After, the annual EITI reports, an implementing country undertakes
a validation process that enables the country become EITI compliant member. Currently,
there are 53 countries, implementing EITI out of which, 25 are African.

MULTI-STAKEHOLDER GROUP

In February this year, cabinet decision was
followed by a public declaration by the Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija of
country’s intention to join the EITI. As part of its commitment, Government has
already constituted a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) to spearhead the
implementation of the initiative.

The MSG is currently comprised of 20
members drawn from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), private sector
and civil society. However, the membership is expected to rise to twenty-seven
members.

The
MSG is Chaired by Moses Kaggwa, the director of Economic Affairs at the
Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED). Kaggwa’s deputy
will be elected from among the members.  Other members of the MSG are;

Elly
Karuhanga (Chairman, Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum – UCMP).

Allan
Kyeyune (Uganda National Oil Company – UNOC)

Kush Amin (Private Public
Partnership Unit, Ministry of Finance)

Allen Bucyana (Ministry of Justice
and Constitutional Affairs – MoJCA)

Obad Noah (Oranto Petroleum
Limited)

Gloria Akatuhurira (Uganda Revenue
Authority)

Tom Buringuziza (Armour Energy
limited)

Philip Andrew Wabulya (Bank of
Uganda)

Nathan Morgan (TOTAL E&P
Uganda)

Robert Tugume (Ministry of Energy
and Mineral Development)

Jean-Yves Petit (TOTAL E&P
Uganda)

Allen Tebugulwa (National Planning
Authority)

Godfrey Mucurezi (Uganda Revenue
Authority)

Timothy Tibesigwa (Ministry of Works and Transport)

Winfred Ngabiirwe (Global Rights Alert)

Margret Lomonyang
(Karamoja Region Indigenous Women Association)
Siragi Magara Luyima (Civil Society Budget
Advocacy Group – CSBAG)

Onesmas Mugyenyi (ACODE)

Ntegyereize
Gard Benda (World Voices Uganda).

MSG has so far convened its inaugural
meeting and will be meeting on a quarterly basis. “Standing observer
slots will be allocated to the Office of Auditor General (OAG) and the EITI
International Secretariat. All observers will be able to engage in discussions
at the MSG but will not have a right to vote,” a member of MSG who preferred
anonymity told Oil in Uganda. He
added that additional seats will be provided for nominated experts to who shall
invited to speak on specific issues.

The MSG is currently reviewing its own Terms of Reference (ToRs) and
defining their scope.

IS IT A PANCEA?

Once
fully implemented, EITI is expected to improved transparency, accountability
and good governance of the sector. “EITI increases public information, thereby
empowering the public to put to task their government to account for every
penny of the resource revenues, which many governments in Africa tend to fear,”
argues, Gard Benda, the Country Executive Director, World Voices Uganda.  The initiative enhances public debates which
improves governance of the extractive industry.

For
instance, Tanzania joined EITI in 2008. According to 2017 EITI progress report
for Tanzania, reveals that debates on payments of income tax by mining
companies operating in the Tanzania, resulted into Acacia company – one of the
mining companies paying $ 14 million in unpaid income tax.

But critics argue that EITI is not a
panacea for transparent and accountable governance of the extractives industry
since it lacks sanctions. Countries that are not compliant can on be delisted
from the initiative but can join the initiative again. For stance, countries
like; Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Sierra
Leon, Yemen, Indonesia, Madagascar, Guentamala have been suspended and
re-joined the initiative.

With the
Multi-Stakeholder Group in place, the next step will be for Uganda to formally
apply to the EITI International Board for candidate status.