Column: Uganda Energy Ministry Must Expedite Implementation of National Local Content Policy
By Dickens Kamugisha,
Executive Director of African Institute For Energy and Governance, Uganda
I would like to congratulate Ugandans for having successfully elected a president and their parliamentary representatives.
To the winners and losers, I say we embark on the task of building the Uganda we want. Among these tasks is holding government accountable for its actions or lack thereof.
Before we went to the polls, the ministry of energy and mineral development published a report, Progress of the implementation of the National Oil and Gas Policy for Uganda, that appeared both in newspapers and on their website.
I want to commend the ministry for this because publishing the report and other information pertaining to the oil and gas sector enables Ugandans to, one, keep updated on the sector and, two, check on government.
That said, I want Ugandans to join me to task the ministry of energy to account for its failure to implement recommendations made to it by the auditor general in a June 2015 report, Implementation of National Content in the Oil and Gas Sector by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
When the ministry published its aforementioned report, it showed that it was taking steps to ensure national content, also known as local content. Among the steps taken to realize this is putting in place a national content office at the ministry, setting up an association of oil and gas service providers in Uganda and formulating a national content policy and plan, which is expected to be approved in 2016.
The ministry also said that draft national content regulations for the upstream and midstream acts have been prepared. The ministry painted a promising picture reporting that the oil and gas sector employed “over 1,000 Ugandans during 2013–14, with each of the licensed companies having more than 50% of its staff as Ugandans” and that over “1,000 national enterprises (which have employed more than 9,000 Ugandans) have provided services such as logistics, civil works, environment consulting services, catering, and hotel accommodation,” among others to companies in the oil and gas sector.
Looking at the above steps, one feels that the ministry has taken positive steps, but has it done enough?