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MPs on America oil study tour

Nine MPs have just returned from a one-week tour of oil facilities and related  institutions in the United States of America where they learnt about oil sector management and governance.

According to one of the team members, Hon. Alice Alaso, the tour was organised and facilitated by the United States government through the embassy in Uganda and it focused on oil revenue management and transparency in the sector. They toured the states of Washington and New Mexico.

“The tour was for us to understand how oil revenues should be managed and audited, what institutions should be in place to promote transparency,” she told Oil in Uganda.

Alaso revealed that the MPs interacted with the American Oil Revenue Management Unit, revenue management training institutes and host communities in oil producing areas.

“We even managed to climb the oil rigs and see what happens because here (in Uganda) we are never allowed to move close to the oil rigs because of security reasons,” she said. “Some of us went there without even knowing what is in the PSAs (Production Sharing Agreements) yet in USA it is compulsory for such dealings to be made transparent.”

According to Michael Werikhe, the Chairperson of parliament’s Natural Resources Committee, the excursion has equipped the legislators with the necessary knowledge to advise on the Public Finance Bill that is currently before parliament.

“Handling the Public Finance Bill has been tricky and there is a big section on how extractives resources will be managed,” he noted.

“I am also currently in Botswana learning how they have been handling their resources and hopefully we will learn from them since they are doing very well in terms of managing their extractives resources,” he added.

Uganda’s legislators have been previously accused of lacking  the requisite knowledge to debate oil matters in parliament. Recently, the president of the Democratic Party and former MP, Nobert Mao, noted that the MPs remain “too raw”  on oil issues despite numerous exposure visits to several countries.

Report by Beatrice Ongode