MPs Press for Amendment to Petroleum Bill 2012

2098 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Members of Parliament are seeking for the amendment of the Petroleum (exploration, development and production) Bill 2012.

Members of Parliament are seeking for the amendment of the Petroleum (exploration, development and production) Bill 2012.
The purpose of the Petroleum Bill, which was tabled in February this year, is to operationalise the national oil and gas policy, regulate oil exploration, development and production and to establish an effective legal governance regime to ensure oil and gas resources are utilized and managed for the benefit of present and future generations.
It’s on this basis that the legislators led by Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo argue that Oil exploration goes beyond the current leadership in government.
They call for the establishment of the public interest accountability committee composed of well-laid down institutions such as traditional leaders, media, lawyers, religious groups, public and chartered accountants among others that would act as an extra check and balance.
Ssekikubo says these groups will not be involved in the petty political maneuvers since they have the country at heart.
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Ndorwa East County MP Wilfred Niwagaba says they want to bring amendments in respect of environmental protection because the Bill is silent on criminal aspects of licensees damaging the environment. The MPs say the Bill is silent on matters such as waste management yet it is one of the core processes in oil production.
They also want to amend the institutional arrangement the Bill proposes, such as the powers given to the Minister, the authority and the corporation. The MPs want the national oil company to be called the national oil corporation with the appointments by approval of Parliament and its management other than leaving it, as the Bill proposes, to be under the Company Act which will in a way make it a private company by stroke of a pen.
Niwagaba says they want to limit the ministers’ powers to only policy and political supervision. Currently the Bill gives the Minister Powers to grant licenses and approve field development plans among others.