By Moses Mulondo
The NRM caucus seating at Parliament has overwhelmingly voted in favour of empowering the Energy minister to grant and revoke licenses to extract oil. Over 130 MPs voted in favour, 7 voted against while 1 abstained.
There has been contention over clause 9 of the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill, 2012 with Government wanting the amended clause revisited so that powers to grant and revoke licenses revert back to the energy minister instead of the petroleum authority as had been earlier approved by Parliament.
On Tuesday, confusion engulfed Parliament prompting Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga to prematurely halt voting on the clause.
The Cabinet on Wednesday held a special meeting to discuss the contentious clause that has caused a major dispute between the Executive and Members of Parliament.
The meeting chaired by President Museveni at the Cabinet Library, Parliamentary Building, rejected a proposal by the MPs to give powers to the minister and the Petroleum Authority to jointly licence and revoke licences for the oil companies.
According to the Minister of State for Luweero Triangle, Rose Namayanja, who is holding the portfolio of the information minister, Cabinet resolved that the original provisions of Clause 9 of the Bill must be maintained.
“We do not want to make a law that is vague. He who hires must have powers to fire,” said Namayanja, adding that Cabinet believes it is not good to make the minister share power of granting and revoking licences with the authority.