28 August 2014

Uganda: Transparency Is Crucial for Extractives Sector - Kadaga

As Uganda embarks on the oil production stage, the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has called for a commitment towards transparency within the extractive industries.

Speaking at a three-day meeting of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) at Serena hotel on Monday, Kadaga said government had not delivered on its promise on transparency.

"We had resolved in 2011 that in addition to bringing the legislation on extractive industries, there was [a plan] to extend the extractive industries transparency initiative," Kadaga said.

"This has not been done; when we resume the House, this is one of the issues we should ask government to explain, [especially] why it has taken three years to consider this yet we are exploring, and considering refining oil and so on," she added.

She said good governance and transparency in the extractive industry would improve the investment climate in the country. According to Kadaga, if natural resources are managed well, they would create employment opportunities; boost procurement of goods and services, and improve production and distribution as well as social and community investment.

The auditor general, John Muwanga, who doubles as chair of the Working Group on Audit of Extractive Industries (WGEI), said the resources extracted should also benefit the population.

"With exhaustible resources, there is need for careful utilization to enable the current population to derive benefits without jeopardizing the interests of future generations," Muwanga said.

He called upon the responsible players in the industry to ensure sustainable use of the resources as government considers revising the necessary measures.

A 2012 INTOSAI-donor secretariat survey on Supreme Audit Institutions' (SAIs) involvement in extractive industries governance indicated that there are still many challenges in auditing extractive industries, which include the technical complexity of the sector and the need for capacity building.

The meeting, which closed on Wednesday, is expected to approve a three-year activity work plan, terms and references for members and launch the WGEI website. Kadaga acknowledged the office of the auditor general for its tremendous support to Parliament.

"The largest number of reports we receive at Parliament emanate from the auditor general's office and we thank him for keeping us busy," she said.

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