Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas
The Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas was conceived at the “Parliamentary Symposium on Oil and Gas Development and Good Governance of the Industry” which was held at Imperial Resort Beach Hotel on 17th June 2010 under the theme: “Equitable Sharing Treasures of Oil and Gas in a Transparent and Environmentally Sustainable Manner”. The symposium was organized by the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank (PNoWB) in collaboration with Advocates’ Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), Water Governance Institute (WGI), and Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO). During this Symposium the Minister of Energy, Hon. Hillary Onek was among the panelists and he was tasked by the Members to table the Production Sharing Agreements on the floor of Parliament a thing he later did on Tuesday 29th June 2010.
During the same Symposium the Members suggested that an Interim Steering Committee be put in place to ensure that the proposed forum takes effect. Subsequently, PFOG was formed and is now a formal and vibrant platform with its constitution registered with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB). PFOG exists to offer a meaningful platform for members and stakeholders to understand the oil, gas and other extractive resources so as to ensure the transparent and accountable governance of the sector.
PFOG was formed in 2010 to provide a constructive platform for Members of Parliament (MPs) to meaningfully understand and influence the governance of the extractive resources sector, particularly Oil and Gas.
The forum now has over 100 active Members of Parliament and networks with civil society organizations (CSOs) to collectively work together to see that the emerging Oil and Gas sector in Uganda becomes a blessing and not a curse. The forum provides a platform to foster members and stakeholders’ empowerment and influence through the provision of sharing and learning platform, creation of awareness on transparency and good governance of the extractive industries for the entire development of the country.
Mission, Vision and Values of PFOG
- formation of PFOG was premised on the fact that Parliament plays a critical role in legislation and oversight processes to enhance good governance and ensuring that the people get better quality services.
The VISION of PFOG is to realize “a sustainable, equitable and prosperous Oil and Gas industry for the present and future generations”.
The MISSION of PFOG is “to provide an effective platform for parliamentarians to advocate for increased transparency, accountability and the sustainable exploitation and use in the Oil and Gas sector as well as other extractive resources for the benefit of the people of Uganda through effective legislation, information sharing, engagement and accountability oversight”.
Transparency and Accountability: PFOG observes generally accepted high standards of integrity, ethical behavior and a readiness to be answerable for proper use of public resources and advancing accountable governance in Uganda.
Dialogue: PFOG facilitates and encourages direct dialogue among all stakeholder including state and non state actors such as the Executive, Parliament, Judiciary, CSOs, private sector players and multilateral development institutions to promote greater transparency in development cooperation, particularly with regards to oil and gas as well as other extractive resources.
Commitment and focus: PFOG recognizes that sustainable success is a collective endeavor based on mutual conviction, trust, complementary effort and dedication to shared objectives.
Aims and Objectives of PFOG
The core purpose of PFOG is to empower parliamentarians and the citizenry to understand and influence good governance of the OG sector. Whereas the primary orientation of PFOG is the oil and gas sector, the forum’s operations extend to the entire extractive industry to ensure that extractive resources of Uganda are sustainably exploited to benefit the present and future generations of the country. The institutional objectives of PFOG are, among others:
- To provide a platform for Members of Parliament (MPs) to discuss, learn about and enhance their oversight role on the Oil and Gas Industry.
- Provide a platform through which civil society, private sector and citizens can network and raise their concerns about the Oil and Gas industry to Parliament and vice versa.
- To lobby and influence decision making in Parliament on the Governance of the Oil and Gas Industry.
- To monitor the quality of the Oil and Gas Industry and sector and promote all types of social, economic and cultural activities that shall enhance the development of the Oil and Gas industry in Uganda.
- To promote general awareness at all levels in the Country.
- To raise, mobilize and disburse funds and resources for the promotion of the objectives of the Association.
- To establish or assist in the improvement and establishment of avenues through which access to information regarding Oil and Gas can be accessed by the public.
- To associate, partner, affiliate and federate with any association, society or organization, incorporated or unincorporated, with objects the same as or similar to the objects of the Association
It is extremely fundamental to undertake a clear analysis of stakeholders; their form, level and nature of influence. PFOG should therefore map partnerships with stakeholders and deepen its reach and impact. There are a number of players in different forms such as state/government agencies, non-state actors like CSOs, the private sector and development partners. These actors also operate at varied levels including international, national, regional, district and community. The various stakeholders of PFOG have been categorized into two; primary and secondary stakeholders.
- Members of PFOG: The PFOG members are the owners of the forum and the duty bearers to ensure PFOG achieves its aspirations and commitments. The members’ commitment and determination ensures the policy and programme direction of PFOG is attained. They also play a primary role in implementing the programmes of PFOG.
- The Citizens: PFOG considers the citizens as primary stakeholders because they are the core reason for PFOG’s existence. The MPs are people’s representatives and it is from the people that MPs derive their mandate. The MPs are in the position of the citizens to execute their roles as direct delegates. While all Ugandans are beneficiaries of oil wealth, PFOG considers the host communities in the Albertine Graben to deserve the overriding attention and focus in as far as they are impacted by the immediate effects of oil and gas. Their benefit from and response to the sector will greatly affect the sector’s subsequent development. Their concerns therefore should be taken care of in the planning and execution of the industry. But all Ugandan citizens are, constitutionally, the owners of all resources and power which are held in trust by the Government. PFOG must therefore be conscious to ensure its operations are in line with the citizens’ agenda and pursuing the common/public good.
- Staff of PFOG: The staffs of PFOG offer the immediate direction to the forum in terms of planning, priority setting, resource mobilization and activity implementation. They are the forerunners of PFOG’s activities to ensure that the forum remains active, sustainable and relevant.
Relevant Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs): These are ministries, departments and government agencies that impact on or benefit from the work of PFOG in the oil and gas sector. These institutions play a key role in the development, monitoring and review of legislations as well as promoting the general community engagements, oversight and participation. These include;
- The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (specifically the Petroleum Exploration and Production Department [PEPD])
- National Planning Authority (NPA)
- Parliamentary Committees (mainly the Natural Resources, and Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committees)
- Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED)
- Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs (MoJCA)
- Ministry of Local Government (MoLG)
- Local Governments (District Local Governments (DLGs) and Lower Local Governments (LLGs)
Other Key Stakeholders
- CSOs and NGOs: There are a number of CSOs, NGOs and civil society networks whose work focuses on natural resources especially in the extractive industry and primarily on oil and gas. PFOG will strive to forge strong linkages with these entities and provide effective entry points for them to engage Parliament and positively influence Government actions or inactions.
- International NGOs: there are many international NGOs with a focus on oil and gas and other extractives. Already, PFOG has identified and works with some of these and will continue to identify and work with other new partners.
- Business entities and associations e.g. Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Uganda National Chamber Commerce (UNCC)
- Relevant training institutions e.g. Kigumba Petroleum Institute
- Media – print and electronic (international, national and local)
- Cultural institutions especially in the oil production areas
- Development partners
- International and Regional oil and Gas platforms
- Private sector through the whole value chain
UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM THAT PFOG SEEKS TO ADDRESS
PFOG was formed in 2010 by a group of Ugandan Parliamentarians out of the recognition of both opportunities and governance challenges related to oil and gas exploitation. It was on the backdrop of known governance challenges in the country. PFOG is conscious of the oil wealth potentials as well as the possible oil curse. The experiences from other oil producing countries especially in sub Saharan Africa where oil wealth has stimulated conflicts, wars and civil strife, deepened corruption levels and the alienation of leaders from the citizens, pitying such countries to the oil curse are vivid. Such experiences provided the counsel and determination for the formation of a parliamentary platform in the effort to mitigate an oil curse, and promote the benefits of oil wealth in Uganda.
Many of the MPs do not yet understand the policy, legal, operational and other rigors of the oil and gas sector. And Parliament is a law making and oversight institution which must promote good governance in Uganda. The oil and gas sector in Uganda is still nascent and emerging; the sector’s operations are fast building and full oil production will soon start. Petroleum bills have already been tabled before Parliament, and if not well understood by the members, they cannot be adequately legislated. The oil sector is not yet fully anchored in the overall administrative structure of the Energy and Extractives sector, and a number of institutional reforms have been proposed.
- oil sector is still engrossed in a culture of secrecy as a governance challenge. Whereas a number of efforts have been undertaken by government, including the development of a strong policy, legal and institutional framework, it is still immensely difficult even for Parliament to access information which is pertinent to fostering the much required transparency and accountability in the management of the sector. Uganda has consistently been ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the last fifteen years. Many oil rich countries have lost their resources to corruption perpetuated through secretive dealings and political patronages at the expense of the common person. There is thus need to strengthen and implement the existing policy, legal and institutional framework before actual oil revenue is realized in the context of massive state resource and elite capture. Similarly, there is need to develop strong petroleum laws that will see Ugandans reap the biggest benefit from the resource. With the windfall of oil revenues, the country is threatened with a breakdown of governance and accountability infrastructure. PFOG seeks to ensure the formulation and implementation of strong petroleum laws, accountability laws and the enhancement of citizens’ demand for transparency and accountability through the representation role of parliamentarians.
The oil and gas sector is multi-faceted, technologically complex, and Uganda lacks the local requisite technical, technological and management capacity. This leads to dependency on foreign human and technological capacity. While PFOG is not a primary implementer in the sector, it is pertinent to develop the capacity of the forum members to understand and adequately play their oversight roles through monitoring, analysis, intervention and influence of oil sector affairs.
The existing legal framework for the development of oil and gas sector is still weak. While there is a strong policy to guide oil and gas development, the associated laws and even the proposals are not in tandem with the existing policy. For all these to be effectively in place, they must address the key concerns and principles as outlined in the policy and best practices. PFOG should position itself to positively contribute to the development of a robust policy, legal, institutional and operational framework for the oil and gas sector.
The citizenry in Uganda is still weak and unable to demand and protect the interest of the common person. The citizens are represented by the MPs in making Government accountable to deliver their interests. Globalization and privatization have also enhanced the notion of profits at the expense of public interest and public good. Unless there is a strong voice to demand and protect citizens’ interests through challenging Oil Companies and broad private sector business interests and championing the public good, the interests of the common Ugandans could easily be relegated. The protagonists in the oil production are profit organizations who are in business for business. Riding on the current guarantees to monitor, watchdog and question unfavorable government decisions and actions, there is need to strengthen the capacity of the hitherto weak citizenry to be alert and to demand for their rights. Parliamentarians are the immediate gateway to realizing this empowerment.
The Albertine Graben is shared by many countries in the Great Lakes Region namely DRC, Southern Sudan, the Sudan and Rwanda. The whole of the Nile basin and resources such as Lake Albert and River Nile which are vulnerable to the exploitation of Ugandan oil and gas resources are owned and governed under regional legal frameworks, although conferring diverse rights to the different countries involved. Moreover, the oil under Lake Albert has already caused a political and economic conflict between Uganda and the DRC. PFOG seeks to take lead in the promotion of peaceful and harmonious cross-border exploitation of oil through the inter-parliamentary networks and effective engagement at national and regional level.
Hon. Theodore Ssekikubo – Chairperson 0772518839
Hon. Mawanda Michael Maranga – Vice Chairperson 0702222241
Hon. Wilfred Niwagaba – Secretary General 0751506448
Hon. Wamakuyu Mudimi – Treasurer 0752865773
Tomson Mwijukye – Coordinator 0783117813
Woniala Gerald – Office Assistant 0703042265
4th Floor Room 4.15