Uganda host EITI Roundtable

Source: PWYP Uganda
Date: 4 Jul 2022

 

EITI Roundtable Discussion with Clare Short

Thursday June 7, 2022 – 2:00-4:00pm

Imperial Royale Hotel

 

Guests:

Clare Short, EITI Chair

Jürgen Reitmaier, EITI Special Regional Advisor

Representatives from Civil Society and Media Houses

 

Chairperson:

Winifred Ngabiirwe, Global Rights Alert/PWYP-U

 

Key issues from guest speakers:

 

§  Uganda must take the opportunity to start EITI from the beginning. Uganda has the opportunity to avoid the entrenchment of poor policies in the oil sector by signing on to EITI before production starts. The government has claimed that it can only join the initiative after commercial oil production has started in 2015, but this is an ill-advised decision.

§  Legislation is good but not a prerequisite to implementation. There has been much debate in the country over the two oil bills still on the table and there has been some push from civil society to either incorporate EITI into the bills or pass standalone EITI bill, as in Nigeria and Liberia. However, Ms. Short advises that legislation is not necessary for EITI implementation. All that is needed is a commitment from government, and a singular focus on incorporating it into law allows the government to delay signing on.

§  EITI is not a cure-all but a tool to contribute to transparency and accountability. The implementation of EITI alone will not prevent the resource curse. It can act as an international spotlight on a government’s dealings with the oil industry as well as a tool to inform the public and inform civil society’s demands for transparency and accountability, but the initiative itself cannot act as a barrier against corruption and mismanagement.

 

Key concerns raised in group discussion:

 

§  Lack of enforcement mechanisms. The only result of non-compliance with the EITI is dismissal from the initiative. Participants expressed concerns that this was not a severe enough consequence but Ms. Short explained that the EITI is merely a platform and not a body that is empowered to sanction.

§  Little participation from citizens of regions most affected. One participant raised the point that discussions such as these usually take place in Kampala and are attended only by NGO members and journalists. He suggested that greater efforts be made to truly engage with the people of the oil-producing regions as we move forward.

§  Potential for EITI to be co-opted by government. There was also a concern that EITI might be used for the government to placate people into believing that they will be transparent. A participant said that in response to questions about transparency, a government minister told him, “don’t worry about that, we are signing onto EITI.” Ms. Short explained that it is good that there are at least vocal commitments to EITI but that the government should be reminded that EITI is only a part of a whole culture of transparency and accountability that must be created.

 

 

For more information, contact

Winfred Ngabiirwe
Executive Director, Global Rights Alert  and Chair, PWYP-U
Plot 128, Old Kiira Road,
Office Tel. +256 312 514473
Mobile  +256 771 621 017
email: info@globalrightsalert.org
www.globalrightsalert.org