Uganda: Government Tightens Mineral Licensing

(file photo).

The government has announced it is phasing out manual issuance of mineral licences next month and automating the system to weed out speculators, promote efficiency and transparency.

Mr Robert Kasande, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, yesterday said they are migrating the transactions onto a customised online platform to fast-track licensing.

He said a clean-up of the records is underway and will culminate in the removal of non-compliant licences to pave way for new investors to spur the sub-sector.

"Through the online system, our clients will now be able to submit applications online as well as undertake all other statutory business processes such as making payments, reporting, submission of returns and renewals of their applications online," Mr Kasande said.

In December 2018, government had issued 844 mineral concessions licences for exploration or mining of minerals.

Necessity

Automation is expected to significantly cut time for licensing mineral dealers, enhance government revenue collection potential and reduce non-compliance.

The modernised system will show the real time the licensee owes the government and how much and automatically eliminate applicants or licence holders who fail to fulfil all requirements.

Mr Kasande directed mineral right holders and prospective applicants to register online with the Directorate of Geological Surveys and Mines in Entebbe by July 31 if they are to avoid the risk of their particulars and applications being removed from the mining cadastre and registry system.

Mr Elly Karuhanga, the chairperson of Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, praised the reform as "excellent and overdue" for its potential to eliminate bureaucracy, profiteering middlemen and corruption.

"It's a good thing and I support it. This system will eliminate all the bad people who have been taking advantage of the manual system," " he said.

Warnings

Mr Robert Kasande said those who would not have paid up their dues by July 31 will be prosecuted as under Section 105 of the Mining Act, 2003.

It provides that royalty and any annual surface rent payable under the Act are debts owed to the government and are recoverable by civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction.

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