Opinion
Where are the citizens in Uganda’s oil sector?Publish Date: Apr 17, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img

By Rukiya Makuma

Since the discovery of commercial viable oil and gas reserves in 2006, there has been a lot of anticipation about the revenues and benefits that will accrue. The feeling has been widely shared across the country with many people saying the revenues should be shared evenly. So far, 3.5 billion barrels of oil reserves have been confirmed in Uganda and they are expected to yield at least $2b per year for 30 years once oil production commences.


In addition to transforming the economy and transforming the lives of people through providing numerous employment opportunities at the different stages of oil production, revenues from oil are also expected to drive Uganda’s GDP growth in the years to come.

In order to achieve this and make Uganda’s oil a success story; the most outstanding call has been on the Government to ensure good governance in the smooth running of the sector. This has also been propelled by numerous campaigns for the Government to sign unto and become a member of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI). EITI is a principle which requires countries to declare incomes they earn from their extractive industries and companies operating in those countries also declare the payments they make to the respective host governments as a way of minimising corruption tendencies from extractive revenues as has been witnessed in other countries that have fallen prey.

The campaigns have yielded some results because, on several occasions, the Government representatives have come on board to re-affirm its position in committing to the principle and to also re-assure Ugandans it will operate transparently in all of its dealings.

There have also been many reminders to make information available to the masses; the need for local content has also been emphasised but including citizens’ participation in the sector has been often ignored and yet if bad decisions are made without involving people’s opinions, it is us the locals who will suffer the adverse effects arising from those decisions.

In Uganda, Global Rights Alert and other CSOs have played an important role in promotion of proper management of oil and gas resources and mitigating negative social-economic, political and environmental impacts and sensitising the citizens hence bridging the gap of lack of information, but despite this citizen participation has remained minimal.

Whereas the Government needs to draft measures to see how citizens can get interested in the sector and participate actively, it is also time citizens got involved because productive citizen participation helps improve policy outcomes because, if more voices are heard, somehow the people in power get compelled to act on the demands of the people.

The writer works with the Global Rights Alert

rmakuma@globalrightsalert.org

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Legal education in Uganda: the growing need for a research-based approach to teaching
One of the key skills nurtured within higher education is the ability to read and understand complex academic studies and to make sound judgement over them....
Migereko explains National Land Policy
I take this opportunity to thank the National Planning Authority in partnership with UNDP, the World Bank and ACODE for selecting the land question as the subject for debate and discussion at this 4th National Development Policy Forum....
Improve customer care at govt health facilities
I recently visited Uganda Revenue Authority branch at Ku-bbiri and the health department of Kampala Capital City Authority head offices. Amazed by the customer care at these public institutions which are often demonised as the worst places to go...
War: Such an unnecessary evil
In many countries, the proportion of the total national budget spent on the military, is a lion’s share compared to other priorities....
From Dark Country to the Sun of Africa: Congratulations Rwanda
I recalled my very first encounter with Rwanda, exactly twenty years ago. The contrast between then and now is monumental; the makeover truly unbelievable...
Let Israel negotiate with Palestinians to end impasse
MEDIA reports of the fighting in the Gaza strip are quite unsettling. The catastrophe should remind the world of the need for using diplomacy and soft power...
Should voters be given poer to recall their MPs?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter