National Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
About the Dialogue
Uganda has prioritized development of extractive industries i.e. mining and petroleum as important sub-sectors that can help the country to meet its development aspirations. The National Development Plan (NDP) III targets mineral and petroleum development as key economic growth drivers. The petroleum sector is moving towards the production phase, projected to start in 2023, and expected to generate revenues that can enhance infrastructure development, create employment and capacity building opportunities. The country's mining sector has also been evolving considerably, with significant strides in licensing and contracting companies for exploration and mining in many regions of the country. It is also expected to generate revenues and create employment opportunities. However, without transparency and accountability in the development of the extractives industry and management of returns from the industry, the country and its citizens may not realize the anticipated revenue and development aspirations.
In January 2019, Uganda government made a public declaration of its interest to join the Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative (EITI) which created excitement amongst key players in the Extractives Industry sector, and as such, aroused discussions around the international instrument and what it means for Uganda as a country. EITI provides an opportunity to improve accountability and transparency in the management of oil and mineral resources in the country.
In order to enhance the benefits of joining the EITI, both the legal and policy frameworks governing extractives had to incorporate transparency provisions. For instance, Uganda's National Oil and Gas Policy indicates in its 6th objective that government intends to ensure collection of the right revenues and use them to create lasting value for the entire nation. One of the policy actions to achieve this objective is to participate in the processes of the EITI. Both the petroleum legislations and Public Finance Management Act allude to transparency in management of the petroleum resource. The 2016 Mining and Mineral Policy for Uganda acknowledges that, "Ultimately the success of the Policy will rest on how well it transposes the mining industry for equitable and transparent delivery of outcomes that benefit investors, mining communities and the Government" Accordingly, one of the principles of the policy is: "Ensuring efficient, equitable, accountable and transparent management of mineral resources and revenues aimed at ensuring that mineral wealth supports sustainable development in Uganda." One of the Policy Objectives is: "To provide for a predictable, transparent and accountable mineral licensing regime." The Mining Act, 2003 is being reviewed for repeal in order to provide for transparent and efficient management of the mineral resources.
In furtherance of the above policy and legal provisions, Uganda embarked on the process of actualizing her EITI candidature and consequently become an official implementing country. To attain this, Uganda went through a series of processes involved, each with specific requirements, guidelines and principles to comply to. One of the initial key requirements for example was the constitution of the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) that oversees the implementation of EITI standards. This group involves government, companies, and the full, independent, active and effective participation of civil society. Subsequently, Uganda submitted its full application to join the EITI in July 2020. Following this submission, on Wednesday the 12th August, 2020, the EITI International Secretariat admitted Uganda as the 54th member country and the 26th African country to join the initiative. The EITI requires governments and mining companies to publish and reconcile data on oil, gas and mining revenues as a mechanism for ensuring transparency, accountability and subsequently proper management of revenues that accrue from natural resources among other associated benefits.
However, general observations indicate that the public and other stakeholders that are expected to support government in this process and monitor compliance to set standards have limited information on EITI. In addition, there are underlying factors that have previously hindered effective engagement in extractive industries related processes such as narrowing civic space, limited capacity to meaningfully engage, disjointed efforts by different CSOs and district technical officers among others.
In order for Uganda to effectively implement the EITI standard, and maintain membership and its associated benefits, all stakeholders including MDAs, CSOs, media, mining companies, academia and others, must create public awareness, build capacities and generate information on EITI. The aforementioned stakeholders should also influence legislators to enact laws that not only formalize, but are well aligned to support effective implementation of EITI.
It is against this backdrop that the Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas (CSCO) in collaboration with Publish What you Pay (PWPY), are organizing a national multi-stakeholder dialogue to provide information to stakeholders on EITI and build their confidence to engage in the EITI implementation process.