The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) has approved Uganda’s application to join the EITI, making it the EITI’s 54th member country and the 26th in Africa.
EITI Board Chair, Rt Hon. Helen Clark, welcomed Uganda to the EITI community: “EITI implementation can help lay the foundation for transparent and accountable management of the country’s natural resource wealth.”
The EITI implementation will require Uganda to publicly disclose information such as contracts, beneficial owners, revenues and payments, including payments related to the environment. These disclosures can in turn promote public oversight and debate.
The action will help create lasting value from oil and gas revenues.
Proven reserves of over six billion barrels of crude oil have been identified in Uganda, of which 1.4 billion is currently deemed to be recoverable. If managed responsibly, expected oil revenues can contribute to national development plans such as infrastructure and social services.
Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija, said: “The decision to join the EITI was informed by the appreciation of the value of transparency as we progress our plans to develop Uganda’s natural resource wealth. We believe that this initiative has the potential to strengthen tax collection, improve the investment climate, build trust among sector stakeholders and help create lasting value from our mineral and petroleum resources.”
As a part of the EITI sign-up process, Uganda formed a multi-stakeholder group (MSG) in March 2019, composed of government, industry and civil society representatives.
Civil society advocacy has been an important part of Uganda’s journey to join the EITI. “Civil society has advocated the operationalisation of the policy objectives of joining EITI since the promulgation of Uganda’s National Oil and Gas Policy in 2008 and the Petroleum Revenue Management Policy in 2012,” said Onesmus Mugyenyi, Deputy Executive Director of Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) and a civil society member of Uganda’s Multi-Stakeholder Group.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, increased competition for investment underscores the need for transparency.
Writing in support of EITI implementation, Total E&P Uganda – an active participant in Uganda’s Multi-Stakeholder Group – underscored the importance of contract transparency in contributing to a transparent and accountable sector. “We look forward to working with government, industry and civil society partners to support EITI implementation through participation in Uganda’s Multi-Stakeholder Group,” said Total E&P Uganda’s General Manager Pierre Jessua.
Uganda’s initial disclosures in terms of the 2019 EITI Standard will need to be made within 18 months of being admitted as an EITI implementing country.