Tuesday, 30th November 2021 |
More than 45 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) under their umbrella Publish What You Pay Uganda (PWYP – Uganda) have asked government of Uganda to make public all petroleum and mining agreements the country has signed with Multi-National Corporations. During a press conference at Fairway Hotel in Kampala recently, representatives of different CSOs argued that contract disclosure is one of the safeguards of ensuring proper management of petroleum and mineral resources.
“Government must urgently disclose key agreements that Uganda has signed under the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project (EACOP), including but not limited to the Host Government Agreement (HGA), the Transportation and Tariff Agreement (TTA) and the Shareholders Agreement (SHA) among others,” Gideon Nshambire Atukwatse, the Chairman Public What You Pay Uganda noted.
In October this year, government tabled before parliament the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) (Special Provisions) Bill 2021 that is meant to operationalize the key agreements government has signed to facilitate the development of the EACOP project. However, all the agreements the EACOP bill seeks to ratify have not been made public.
“There is no way we can monitor as CSOs the management of petroleum and mining sector or contribute to the EACOP (Special Provisions) Bill 2021, yet they do not know the contents of the agreements that the is referring to,” Carolyne Nakajubi, the Programme Officer at Action Aid International Uganda said.
“Increasing disclosure of contracts promotes transparency, accountability and public participation in the management of petroleum and mineral revenues,” Paul Twebaze, the Executive Director of Pro-Biodiversity Conversationalists in Uganda.
The CSOs want government to delay the finanilisation of the EACOP (Special Provisions) Bill 2021 until government conducts adequate public consultations. The passing of the EACOP (Special Provisions) Bill must be subject to public scrutiny and participation. Last week, Members of Parliament on the Finance Committee ended its meeting with the Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka and a team from Uganda National Oil Company Ltd (UNOC) prematurely after MPs demand to first be furnished with copies of the crucial oil agreements first.
“All these issues were discussing in the in these oil bills [EACOP (Special Provisions) Bill 2021 and the Public Finance Management (Amendment) Bill 2021, are paged on the oil agreements, we are therefore incapable of proceedings without these crucial agreements. The bills seek to ratify these oil agreements. We cannot ratify what we have not seen,” Muwanga Kivumbi, the Shadow Finance Minister said.
The CSOs also want government to make public all the mineral licences. “Government must urgently publically disclose all mining licences it has issued so far and all mining revenues paid to government. This will make the government win trust of the mining communities and make it difficult for government officials or agencies to sign deals that don’t attract maximum revenues to the government,”. Atukwatse said. “If government doesn’t release and make public these agreements, there is an option of going to court to compel it to release and make public all the contracts and agreements so far signed,” Robert Tumwesigye Baganda, the Coordinator, Publish What You Pay Uganda said. The CSOs further want government should systematically disclose and explain to the public and mining communities in particular the revenues, volumes and other information on mineral production.