Local leaders and communities in oil and mineral rich areas of Uganda have been challenged to take advantage of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) reports in Uganda to be able to benefit from the growing extractive sector in the country.
Mr Edwin Kanakulya Kavuma from the EITI Secretariat, emphasises that reports normally hidden are made public through the EITI reports.
According to him, the reports focus on areas of environmental and human rights issues as well as implementation of Corporate Social Responsibilities during implementation as extractives take shape
Specifically on the most eye-catching oil industry, Mr Kavuma said the reports produced so far help to show how much has been invested by the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and how much has so far been paid to the government in form of revenues.
He said it also shows how the government has used revenues from oil and minerals.
Mr Kavuma was speaking at a regional stakeholders’ engagement organised by Bunyoro Albertine Petroleum Network on Environmental Conservation (BAPENECO) in Hoima city this week.
Mr Nicholas Busobozi, the BAPENECO Coordinator, said the central purpose of the engagement was to create community awareness about the availability of the EITI reports to promote accountability and improve participation of the local communities in the extractive sector.
“Uganda’s second EITI report has been released and will be launched next month and so many people need to be prepared to follow it up online and in hard copies where accessible so that they can be able to know,” he said.
“We want to ensure that the extractive sector progresses sustainably through respect for environment and human rights as well as community participation,” he added.
Mr Paul Mulindwa, the Executive Director Kitara Civil Society Network (KICSON) – the BAPENECO host, stressed the need to popularise EITI reports amongst the local leaders so that they can monitor the oil industry progress.
He congratulated Uganda upon its swift movement to join the EITI contrary to many countries that take long to do so.
Participants attend the EITI engagement at HB Hotel in Hoima City (Image: Kazi-njema News)
Ms Beatrice Rukanyanga, the Executive Director for Kwataniza Women Farmers Group, appealed to the EITI Secretariat to always pay attention to gender issues in the oil industry to avoid experiences where many oil projects’ host women lost out to men mainly during the first oil projects and their visibility in influential positions is minimal.
The engagement disseminated the EITI report 2020/2021 which was the first and the highlight on the second which was released in June this year pending launch on September 15, this year.
The EITI at national level has a multi-stakeholder group which has representation from different government agencies that looks at issues of contracts and licences, production, revenue collection, revenue allocation and social and economic development.
Mr Gad Benda, the Herald of World Voice Uganda, told the participants that though the oil is not yet out of the ground, revenues started flowing and many things are happening that need an informed view for monitoring.
Mr William Draku, the Senior Compliance and Enforcement Officer at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) emphasised the need for companies to fill the Beneficial Owner Forms for public accountability as it also helps to combat crimes like money laundering.