Towards a Time Bound Legislative Agenda for Effective Oil Governance and Avoiding the Oil Curse (Uganda)

 

Communiqué Issued at the Closing of the High Level Policy Dialogue on Oil Governance in Uganda

1. The High Level Policy Dialogue on Oil Governance in Uganda took place in Jinja, Uganda on November 30 –December 1, 2011. The Dialogue was attended by over 120 participants including Members of Parliament and representatives of civil society, cultural leaders, and representatives of local government from the Republic of Uganda, Republic of Ghana and United Republic of Tanzania. The overall goal of the Dialogue was to promote the adoption and efficient implementation of transparency and accountability measures in Uganda policy and legal regime on oil and gas.

2. The participants attending the final session of the dialogue hereby adopt this statement as an expression of consensus on issues, declarations and commitments arising out of the deliberations from the dialogue.

3. That the discovery of oil and gas in Uganda presents a tremendous opportunity for the country to access much needed resources to overcome major social, economic and infrastructure challenges confronting the country. The revenues from oil and gas will enable strategic investment in key areas such as infrastructure, education, health and agriculture.

4. Recognize that Government has made commendable investments and progress in promoting the development of the oil and gas sector and urge government to continue with more purposefulness and openness in handling all matters regarding the development and production of oil and gas resources in the country.

5. TAKE NOTE of the fact that Uganda’s oil and gas sub-sector is still characterized by suspicion arising from undue secrecy and lack of transparency , accountability and integrity, especially with regard to PSAs which is a source of tension and mistrust between the executive, parliament, civil society and citizens.

6. TAKE COGNIZANCE of the encouraging progress made by the Government of Ghana in establishing the appropriate institutional and legal framework for the governance of Ghana’s oil and gas resources. The participants also take note of the excellent work done by the Parliament of Ghana in ensuring that the laws presented before it were debated and passed with appropriate safeguards, transparency and accountability provisions.

7. Reiterate that oil is a national resource and a matter of national interest, In this regard, the participants recognize that decision making and governance of oil and gas resources and management of oil and gas revenues should be above any political affiliation, ethnic alliances, tribal affiliations or any other partisan interests.

AND THEREFORE

8. CALL upon the Government of Uganda to expeditiously present before parliament the appropriate legislation for the governance of oil and gas resources as required by article 244 of the constitution and the relevant resolutions of Parliament on this matter.

9. COMMIT ourselves to work together in ensuring that Members of Parliament and other stakeholders are fully trained and equipped to facilitate meaningful deliberations on the proposed oil and gas legislation.

10. DECLARE our unreserved commitment to work together to support all government actions that promote the good governance of the oil and gas sub-sector and to challenge and oppose any government or corporate actions that have the direct or indirect impact of undermining transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sub sector.

11. ACKNOWLEDGE the common but differentiated responsibilities of the executive, the legislature, the civil society, the media and other interest groups in ensuring that the natural resources of our countries and in particular oil and gas resources are developed, exploited and utilized for the benefit of our people and in the national interest of our countries.

12. INVITE our governments to ensure that the development and exploitation of oil and gas resources take into account the need to make full use of the gas resources and to ensure that gas flaring is avoided on account of the negative environmental consequences arising from gas flaring activities but most importantly the opportunities presented by gas resources.

13. CALL upon the Government of Uganda to honor its policy commitment to subscribe to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) as set out in the national oil and gas policy and to expeditiously take appropriate action to join the Initiative.

14. CALL upon Government of Uganda to investigate cases regarding temporary and permanent expropriations of land belonging to individuals and communities in the Albertine Graben and ensure that prompt, adequate and fair compensation is provided as prescribed in Uganda’s constitution.

15. COMMIT ourselves to take measures and actions required to build mutual confidence and trust between the executive, the legislature, the civil society and citizens as a major building block for effective policy and legislation in the oil and gas sub-sector.

16. Extend our appreciation to the colleagues from the Republic of Ghana and the United Republic of Tanzania for their participation and sharing of experiences that provide important lessons for the development of Uganda’s oil and gas sub-sector.

17. Extend our appreciation to the Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas (PFOG) and the member organizations of the Civil Society Coalition on Oil (CSCO), Publish What You Pay-Uganda (PWYP-U), and Oil Watch Network who provided the financial and intellectual resources that made the convening of this dialogue possible.

Jinja, Uganda December 1, 2011 Source

 

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