MPs Demand Adhoc Committee's Findings Before Oil Bills are Passed

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In short
Members of parliament have questioned why the adhoc committee that was instituted last year to investigate the oil sector hasn’t tabled it is findings to guide them on the oil bills debate.

Members of parliament have questioned why the adhoc committee that was instituted last year to investigate the oil sector hasn’t tabled it is findings to guide them on the oil bills debate.

Bugangaizi West MP Atwooki Kasirivu said that the findings of the ad hoc committee should have been tabled first before the debate on the oil bills. He said this would have helped the house to have an informed debate on the bills with members well aware of facts on the ground.

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Kasirivu urged the country to desist from the habit of ignoring committee findings. He said if government had taken seriously the findings of the commission of inquiry that was set up in 2006; there wouldn’t be land wrangles in the oil region.

Kawempe South MP Ssebuliba Mutumba also said parliament shouldn’t pass the bills before discussing the findings of the adhoc committee. He said the committee was set up to serve a pertinent purpose and therefore it wouldn’t be wise to pass laws to legislate the sector without looking at its findings.

The adhoc committee was set up in October last year to investigate, among other issues, the allegations of bribery in the oil sector.

Other MPs who include Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo and Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba said the reports on both bills are lacking as far as the protection of the environment is concerned.

Ssekikubo said these laws need to have punitive clauses protecting the environment. He described the current laws as weak considering the sensitivity of the region where oil activities are taking place.

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Other MPs like Mbale municipality MP Jack Wamai Wamanga said the environmental bodies are weak. He said the environmental fate of this country should not be left in the hands of National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) considering that NEMA had already let the country down with encroachment on wetlands barely checked.

The members vowed to use their powers as parliament to scrutinise the bills and the reports to pass the laws that will save Uganda from the curse of the oil resource.