Uganda to Attend EITI Board Meeting in Ukraine

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In short
It is first time Uganda is attending the meeting after cabinet agreed that Uganda should join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative EITI. It is expected that Ugandas membership to EITI will enhance transparency and accountability and lasting value as it prepares for Oil and Gas production.

Uganda has been invited to Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative's(EITI) board meeting in Kyiv Ukraine. The EITI international secretariat confirmed that Uganda has been invited for the meeting, that opens on Wednesday, as an observer.

It is first time Uganda is attending the meeting after cabinet agreed that Uganda should join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). It is expected that Uganda's membership to EITI will enhance transparency and accountability and lasting value as it prepares for Oil and Gas production.

URN could not independently verify who will represent Uganda at the meeting, but sources indicated that Energy Minister, Irene Muloni, officials from the Auditor General's office and the Ministry of Finance are likely to participate.

Uganda is yet to submit the candidature application to the EITI international Secretariat. However, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Executive Director, Mark Robinson last week welcomed the cabinet decision to join other oil and gas rich countries committed to promote transparency in the sector.

Robinson said the EITI International Secretariat stands ready to support the government with its application.

"Implementing the EITI will help Uganda lay the foundation for transparent and accountable management of their natural resource wealth," said Robinson.

Uganda like any EITI implementing country, must complete five sign-up steps before it becomes a full member. The steps relate to the commitment of the government, company and civil society engagement, the establishment of a multi-stakeholder group and agreement on an EITI work plan.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Board meeting in Kyiv comes amidst calls to strengthen the EITI Standard's provisions on contract transparency.

Rob Pitman,  the  governance officer with the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) says the State-investor contracts and licenses which provide the terms attached to the exploitation of oil, gas and mineral resources must have citizen oversight.

He says publishing these documents enables citizens to bring much needed accountability to deals that might last decades and be worth billions.

Pitman, in a statement ahead of the opening of the meeting tomorrow said publishing contracts allows governments and companies to build public trust.
Uganda has so far  awarded nine production licenses to TotalTullow and China's CNOOC in recent years. The contracts however remain secret but could be made public once Uganda joins EITI.

There are now 44 countries around the world that have disclosed contracts, including more than half of EITI implementing countries (now 31 of 51). Ten years ago, only nine member countries had a law requiring the publication of oil, gas or mining contracts. Now 24 have such laws.

Contract disclosure is supported by at least 18 leading extractives industry companies and has been endorsed by private sector forums including the International Council on Mining and Metals.