Tag Archives: Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

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

 


Oil Drilling in Africa: corruption deepening

More transparency is needed in the oil, gas and mining industries to prevent the international scramble for Africa’s natural resources from fuelling still deeper corruption and instability, according to a new report from Global Witness published today.

Based on investigations in Angola and Nigeria, Rigged? highlights a risk that complex corporate deals for accessing natural resources could be used corruptly to benefit vested interests in these countries. The report also points to major concerns over opaque sales of mining assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo to offshore companies.

“Many resource-rich countries in Africa have suffered deeply from corruption, conflict and unfair foreign exploitation,” said Gavin Hayman, Director of Campaigns at Global Witness. “Their citizens have a right to know how oil and mineral deals are being done, who is taking part in these deals and where the money is going.”

Recent years have seen a big increase in public disclosure of revenue payments to governments from the extractive industries. But that positive trend has been cast into doubt as international oil companies threaten legal action in the U.S to stop the Securities Exchange Commission implementing strong transparency rules. Oil companies are also lobbying to water down plans for similar rules in the European Union. Despite ‘big oil’ calling for a global ‘level playing field’, it appears to be fervently undermining efforts to create just that – a new global standard for transparency of revenue payments.

The new report points to a corruption risk that small and obscure companies in Angola and Nigeria could act as fronts for government officials or their allies, in resource deals that often involve investments from major international companies. The report finds that:

In Angola, several small companies which have won access to the oil sector – sometimes as partners of Western oil firms – do not identify their ultimate owners or are owned by people with the same names as government officials.
In Nigeria, valuable stakes in oil blocks ended up with obscure companies, one apparently controlled by a senator and another by a businessman close to the country’s then-head of state.
Additionally, in the DRC:
The state mining company Gecamines sold stakes in four major mines to opaque offshore companies, at what appears to be a fraction of their value, according to most reported commercial estimates.

Global Witness is calling for:

The commissioners of the SEC in the United States to pass final rules that meet the intent of the Dodd Frank law, requiring companies to publish what they pay to governments for each project that they operate in the oil, gas and mining industries without exemptions.
Europe, China and other jurisdictions to pass strong laws requiring companies to publish what they pay to governments for each project that they operate in the oil, gas and mining industries.
International oil and mining companies to stop lobbying to undermine transparency laws while claiming to be in favor of transparency.
Full disclosure of the beneficial ownership of companies bidding for extractive rights to become an international norm via such mechanisms as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the domestic laws of resource-rich countries in Africa.
A new report by Global Witness, an international non-governmental organisation, has warned of a high risk of corruption in natural resource contracts in Nigeria and Angola.

The report, titled ‘Rigged: The Scramble for Africa’s Oil, Gas and Minerals,’ calls for more transparency in the oil, gas and mining industries to prevent deepening corruption.

According to the report, released midweek, small and obscure companies involved in resource deals in Nigeria and Angola could be acting as fronts for government officials or their proxies.

Global Witness stated that in Angola, several small companies that have won access to the oil sector, sometimes partnered with multinationals, do not identify the beneficial owners of the companies and are owned by people with the same names as government officials.

In Nigeria, several obscure companies, one of which appeared to be controlled by a senator and another by an ally of a president, who was still in office, won lucrative oil contracts.

A handful of companies have resolved cases based on alleged violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Angola and Nigeria.

Obviously on this basis, the group called on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to release long-awaited rules governing a new disclosure requirement covering oil, gas and mining company payments to foreign governments.

The report also raises concerns about opaque sales of mining assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo to offshore companies.

The U.S. disclosure rule, mandated by the Dodd-Frank financial reform package, has been a source of controversy, and the oil industry has fought hard to weaken the proposed rules, much to the concern of NGOs.

Global Witness warned that blunting the rules could undo years of increased transparency.

The group noted in a recent statement, ‘that positive trend has been cast into doubt as international oil companies threaten legal action in the U.S to stop the Securities and Exchange Commission implementing strong transparency rules.

‘Oil companies are also lobbying to water down plans for similar rules in the European Union. Despite “big oil” calling for a global “level playing field,” it appears to be fervently undermining efforts to create just that: a new global standard for transparency of revenue payments.’

Source


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