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Government

Overview

The Government of Uganda holds all oil, gas and sub-soil mineral assets in trust for nation. It represents the Ugandan people in formulating policy and in negotiating contracts related to oil and gas exploration and development.  Listed below are the main government departments tasked with discharging this duty.

The  Office of the President  provides policy research and implementation support to the President, Vice President and cabinet and also directly administers some departments such as the Media Centre.  The Office of the Prime Minister  has a coordinating role across government departments and is responsible for leading government affairs in parliament.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development  is tasked with developing policies and regulations to promote “the rational and sustainable exploitation of energy and mineral resources for social and economic development.”  It thus has major responsibilities both for expanding electric power generation (as in the Bujagali and Kiruma dams projects) and for overseeing exploration and extraction of petroleum and mineral resources.  “Creating an enabling environment to attract investment” is an important theme of the Ministry’s work in both areas.   The current Minister is Irene Muloni, an electrical engineer who for many years headed the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company.  Ms. Muloni entered parliament in 2011 as women’s representative for Bulambuli District.

Over the last few years much of the Ministry’s work on oil and gas has been delegated to a subsidiary authority, the Petroleum Exploration and Production Department (PEPD), staffed by specialists in petroleum engineering and related sciences.  This Department’s mandate is “to establish the petroleum potential of the country and promote it.”  PEPD is currently headed by Mr. Ernest Rubondo, a geophysicist who has worked in the Department since the early 1990s as part of the technical team struggling to demonstrate the Albertine Graben’s petroleum potential.

The Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill currently before parliament proposes the creation of a Petroleum Authority to serve as regulator of the oil and gas sector.  It is possible, perhaps likely, that, the PEPD will be transformed into this Authority if and when the bill is enacted.

The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development  is responsible for setting the national budget but also for longer-term, strategic orientation of the economy.   The current Minister is Maria Kiwanuka, an economist who worked for more than ten years with the World Bank and later as Managing Director of the Radio One and Radio Two stations, in which her family holds a majority interest.

Semi-independent statutory bodies closely related to the Ministry include:

The National Planning Authority (NPA), established in 2002, and charged with coordination of “decentralized development planning and management processes and production of comprehensive integrated National Development Plans.”   Current chair of the NPA is Dr. Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa, who  gained a PhD in Agricultural Economics at Makerere University and later worked as a researcher for the International  Food Policy Research Institute and visiting professor at Williams College MA, USA.

The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), responsible for tax collection.  The URA has already evied capital gains tax payments from international oil companies and will be the government recipient of future oil-tax revenues.  It is currently headed by (Ms.) Allen Kagina, a psychology graduate of Makerere University who has worked in URA since 1992, steadily rising through its ranks.

The Bank of Uganda , Uganda’s central bank, responsible for holding the nation’s reserves, for issuing and managing the national currency, and for setting interest rates.  The bank is wholly owned by the Government of Uganda. In accordance with the Bank of Uganda Act (2000), its Governor and Deputy Governor are appointed by the President, while between four and six of its Directors are appointed by the Minister of Finance.  The current Governor is Dr. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, a former university economics professor who also previously held several senior positions in the Ministry of Finance.  The Petroleum Fund that the government plans to establish will be administered by the Bank of Uganda.

The Ministry of Water and the Environment has overall responsibility for setting national environmental policies and standards and for monitoring compliance with those standards.    Current Minister in charge of this department is Maria Lubego Mutamgaba, a Makerere University economics graduate who previously served as a Director of the Bank of Uganda and Deputy Secretary General of the Democratic Party.  Ms. Mutagamba was first appointed Minister of State for Water Resources in 2000 and retains the position today.

Under the ministry, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is more specifically tasked with conducting environmental impact assessments and auditing, and for enforcement measures.  NEMA also publishes ‘sensitivity atlases.’  Its 2010 Atlas, compiled with technical inputs from the Petroleum Exploration and Production Department and from international conservation organisations, considers the environmental challenges of oil production in the Albertine Graben.

The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development  is responsible for setting “policy direction, national standards and coordination of all matters concerning lands, housing and urban development” in Uganda.   These broad responsibilities include land administration, surveying and valuation, overseeing and registering land transactions and resolving land disputes in Uganda’s highly complex land market.  The Ministry is thus an important player in compensation claims arising from compulsory purchase of leasehold and customary land for oil and gas exploration and development. It also plays a policy role in the urban planning of Uganda’s oil boomtowns.  The current Minister is Daudi Migereko, who has represented Butembe County (Jinja District) in parliament since 1996 and has previously served as Minister for Energy and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Industry.