Oil Bill Finally Passed

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In short
Parliament has finally passed the petroleum exploration, development and production bill after about two months of debate, disagreement and chaos.

Parliament has finally passed the petroleum exploration, development and production bill after about two months of debate, disagreement and chaos.

The bill was passed after parliament voted on the contentious clause nine which stipulates the powers of the minister.

The initial clause of the bill put the roles to endorse petroleum agreements, to grant and to revoke licenses among the roles of the minister but the members of the parliamentary forum on oil and gas had amended that those roles go to the petroleum authority.

With the guidance of deputy speaker Jacob Oulanya, the clause was amended and it was agreed that those roles be played by the authority on the approval of the minister.

Trouble and disagreements started when energy minister Irene Muloni moved a motion that the clause be revisited to give those powers back to the minister arguing that those roles are too critical to be played by technocrats.

That put parliament and the executive at loggerheads for about a month until deputy speaker Jacob Oulanya ruled that the matter be decided by a vote.

Out of the 188 members that were present in the house, 149 members voted that the cause be reinstated as it initially was in the bill while 39 voted that the bill remains as amended by parliament.

Only five of the NRM members voted against the recommittal and they include the national youth MP Monica Amoding, Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi, Rwampara MP Vincent Kyamadidi, Ibanda North MP Kyoma Xavier and Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo. 

President Museveni yesterday chaired an NRM parliamentary caucus where he had members vote on the matter by roll call. 123 NRM members voted for the clause to be reinstated like it was on the bill and the seven that voted against it were scolded by Museveni for sabotaging his policies.

Museveni apparently called his party MPs again today one by one in the parliamentary library to persuade them to vote that these powers are given to the minister. NRM has held over five caucus meetings over the bill.