Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has urged MPs to vote in favour of extensive executive power over oil in a lengthy New Vision newspaper article, most of which is plagiarised from an essay on The Politics of Oil and Water sold online by www.docstoc.com.
The premier’s main argument, which appears in the closing paragraphs of the 1,600 word New Vision opinion piece, is that the Petroleum Authority, as industry regulator, should not both issue licences for exploration and production and at the same time enforce industry standards. This, he says, “tantamounts to one checking oneself!” Hon. Mbabazi, who is considered a possible successor to President Yoweri Museveni, also complains that “removing the Minister [from licensing decisions] is tantamount to removing the President from control of the oil resource.” Read More
The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, has said she will not reconvene the House until MPs who allegedly disrupted proceedings on Wednesday, as a vote was about to passed over the controversial Clause 9 of a bill to regulate the petroleum sector, are punished for indiscipline.
Hon. Kadaga has ordered the parliamentary Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline to review the matter and report back to her by Monday so that appropriate disciplinary action is taken against lawmakers considered guilty of fanning the fracas in the debating chamber. Read More
“No vote! Our oil!” chanted a section of the House.
“Let’s Vote!” chorused another.
The Speaker’s chair vacant, the Sergeant at Arms and his assistants jealously guarded the Mace, the symbol of parliamentary power, as some members of the opposition appeared to be making a move for it.
This was the dramatic scene that played out in a fully-packed parliament yesterday as Uganda’s law makers clashed over whether to vote on re-introducing Clause 9 of a draft oil bill, giving sweeping powers to the minister in charge of oil. Read More
As MPs gathered in Uganda’s parliament this afternoon to debate a bill that will structure and regulate the oil sector, police on the gates were busily refusing entry to activists who wanted to the watch the debate from the public gallery—until rescue for the citizens’ rights came from the intervention of a prominent cleric.
Shortly before 2 pm Oil in Uganda found a despondent huddle of barred activists at the parliamentary gate. According to Henry Bazira, chairperson of the Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas, police had told them the public gallery was “full.” Read More
A controversial clause in Uganda’s Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill, which was amended during a parliamentary debate two weeks ago in such a way as to limit ministerial powers, has been re-introduced at the eleventh hour and will again be debated on Tuesday, November 27, after intense efforts by the ruling party to quell potential rebellion in its own ranks.
A National Resistance Movement caucus meeting held today (November 26) was widely seen as an attempt to railroad Movement MPs into supporting the original version of the bill, while civil society activists held their own press conference and issued statements denouncing the effort to overturn the earlier amendment. Read More
Uganda should move carefully and without haste to develop its oil industry and wider economy. Well crafted laws, with institutional checks and balances, are essential to govern the commercial aspects. Revenues should be deposited overseas in hard currency accounts, with a portion saved for the future—because development cannot take place overnight, it needs to phased. Increased government spending should be tied to a comprehensive development plan. Environmental, health and safety issues should be governed by regional laws that bind international oil companies to the same standards they would have to apply in their countries of incorporation—because otherwise they ‘won’t take it seriously.’
So says Columbia University professor, scholar-activist and renowned extractives industries expert, Jenik Radon, who has been delivering a series of lectures at Makerere University. Oil in Uganda caught up with him as he packed his bags to return to storm-buffeted New York City. Read More
More than 140 Ugandan members of parliament gathered in the Munyonyo Speke Resort today to ‘harmonise’ their positions ahead of the expected parliamentary debate next week on the two Petroleum Bills that were tabled in February.
The event was convened by the Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas (PFOG) which has criticised the draft laws more strongly than the Natural Resources Committee recommendations published last month.
PFOG, in common with many civil society groups, is calling for more limits on executive power and for stronger environmental and transparency provisions. Read More
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