Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Uganda and its neighbour – DR Congo want the government of Uganda to reveal the details contained in the agreements signed on Sunday, April 11, 2021 that lead the country to actual development of infrastructure needed ahead of oil production.
In their communique released yesterday (Tuesday), the CSOs argue that the key agreement signed between Head of States – Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu Hassan and Uganda’s Yoweri Kaguta Museveni totally lacked the aspect of transparency that the two governments are obliged to as signatories of the Extractive Industry Transparence Initiative (EITI).
The duo signed the Host Government Agreement (HGA) for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). Other two agreements – the Tariff and Transport Agreement (TTA) and the Shareholding Agreement (SHA) were signed involving the oil companies.
Tanzania joined the EITI in 2009 and Uganda followed in 2020.
EITI is an international body that promotes transparency in the extractive industry condemning secrecy in all agreements signed by the government on behalf of its citizens.
The communique recommends halting of all steps set rolling by the agreements signed by the two heads of state and the respective oil companies until the secrets in them are revealed.
The 38 CSOs also want the communities in the DRC to be widely consulted about the developments on the Ugandan side of the shared Lake Albert Rift Valley and water to avoid trans- boundary conflicts and assure the citizens of the climate change impacts and mitigation measures in relation to the oil projects of the Kingfisher, Tilenga and the EACOP.
The contesting organisations include; Grande Action pour le Développement, Club Amis De L’environnement, Association des Mamans pour la Lutte contre le Traumatisme and Action Humanitaire pour le Développement from DR Congo.
Those registered in Uganda include; World Voices Uganda, Oil Refinery Residents Association and Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO).
The CSOs’ communique finds Ugandans especially the youths with a smile after the weekend ceremony of important signings hoped to open up more than 60,000 employment opportunities.
The signed agreements lead to the Final Investment Decision (FID) in Uganda’s oil industry that will be made by the oil companies and the government of Uganda; consequently allowing a 20 billion dollar investment in the country.
In his speech after signing the agreements, President Museveni said he had widely consulted his oil experts to ensure that everything worked in favour of the citizens.