The World Bank is set to empower a group of Ugandans with contract monitoring skills to improve procurement in a number of Uganda’s economic sectors including the oil and gas. The group will receive the training at four-day training workshop in Kampala from May 31st to June 2011 and will be facilitated by the World Bank Institute and the World Bank Africa Region.
According to Ms Regina Wilson, a Junior Professional Associate at World Bank, Africa, the meeting is aimed at promoting good governance of procurement processes in the extractives (minerals), constructive and pharmaceutical industries. “Creating a level playing field with transparent and fair processes for the award and implementation of contracts in these industries is thus critical for all sectors of society – government, private sector and civil society,” Ms Wilson said last week.
The bank is focusing on these industries because they have potential to shape Uganda’s development plan since they attract large investments. For example, the oil and gas industry is expected to attract $10 billion (Shs23.6 trillion) to the country for the establishment of an oil refinery by Tullow Oil, Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. About $1 billion (Shs2.3 trillion) has already been spent on exploration activities by companies including; Tullow Oil, Heritage Oil and Gas as well as Dominion Petroleum.
In June last year, the World Bank Institute and the World Bank Africa Region and other key stakeholders discussed procurement monitoring with a particular focus on oil and mining which prompted a number of organisations to commit to look further at the issue. The result was the launch of a first pilot programme in West Africa in December 2010 and the establishment of a global working group looking at developing tools for contract monitoring.
The focus now is on assessing potential for country pilots in Eastern and Southern Africa to build capacity for improved monitoring of contract award and implementation in the region. This regional meeting will be the catalyst for piloting contract monitoring approaches in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, according to the bank.