CSOs decry govt failure to account for extractives sector
What you need to know:
- The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa said that her ministry has not had any accountability issues because resources are handled according to the law
Civil Society Organizations have criticized the government of Uganda over what they called poor accountability in the extractives sector.
In their CSO position paper on the midterm review of the National Development Plan III (NDPIII) published in January 2023, CSOs cited lack of accountability-backed transparency in the extractives sector despite Uganda’s efforts to be part of the extractive industries transparency initiative.
While presenting the paper in Bushenyi district on Tuesday during the Ankole sub-regional stakeholders' engagement on the NDP III mid-term review, Mr Jonas Mbabazi Musinga, a consultant at the Uganda National NGO Forum observed that the extractives sector has registered some level of transparency but it is never backed with accountability.
“Uganda around 2020 made efforts to be part of the extractive industries transparency initiative with a promise to improve transparency and this has greatly increased in the oil and gas sector. We see a lot of transparency in the oil and gas sector, but that transparency is not supported with accountability,” he said
He gave an example of gold mining, which he said has been and is still an outstanding issue, whose flow is still hidden.
“Our target for 2020/21 was about 550 metric tons of gold, but during that same year, we were able to realize about 8,222 metric tons. This means, we realized more gold than we had anticipated and when you look at the documentation of gold exports, between Bank of Uganda and Uganda Revenue Authority, for instance, there is a discrepancy in that documentation. And we are asking ourselves, if we are not mining this gold, then where is it coming from? And there are many other issues around that,” Mr Musinga wondered.
The proposed CSO position paper builds on previous similar interventions in 2010 and 2015 and 2020 where CSOs made contributions towards the development and review of NDPI, III and III.
Mr Rogers Mugisha, a team leader at Help the Crying Voices Uganda held that citizens are not given information on the utilization of natural resources and it has become hard for them to benefit from their minerals. He asked the government to make information available and let citizens be part of all processes involved in mining.
“People would want to know how they are going to benefit from their resources but they are not given information. This cripples progress in the sector and hampers the realization of the NDPIII,” said Mr Mugisha
The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa said that her ministry has not had any accountability issues because resources are handled according to the law.
“They should be specific and highlight which accountability they want us to show them because we don’t touch the money. We have directors who use the resources following the right procedures and we don’t touch their money directly. The money collected from licenses and other sources is given to URA and we don’t have issues. We need to understand which accountability they are talking about,” she said in an interview with the Monitor Wednesday.