Petroleum wealth has the potential to help raise millions out of poverty, but it also runs the risk of plunging Uganda towards the resource curse. A robust legislative framework which provides transparency and accountability in the management of the sector is a first vital step to ensuring that Uganda gets a fair deal for its resources and ordinary Ugandan citizens benefit.
In February 2012 two new Petroleum Bills were introduced to the Ugandan Parliament. The two Bills display a number of positive aspects and some good detail, but a number of groups have raised concerns over excessive ministerial control, absence of parliamentary oversight, a lack of guarantees on contract and financial transparency, and lax environmental and social safeguards.
This new legislation has been considered by the Parliamentary Natural Resources Committee. After several months collecting evidence and consulting with stakeholders the Committee has submitted their recommendations to the Speaker of Parliament for consideration and adoption by Parliament. Parliament will now decide on whether to accept the proposed amendments or go further and make additional changes. The following analysis compares these recommendations against the substantive concerns raised on the legislation by civil society groups. It does not constitute an exhaustive list of recommendations for amendments to the law, only a selection of the most important.