Global Rights Alert and Publish What You Pay (PWYP-U) host Clare Short - EITI Chair

On the 7th of June 2012, Global Rights Alert in Conjunction with Publish What You Pay – Uganda (PWYP-U) hosted the EITI Chair Ms. Clare Short and her colleague, Jürgen Reitmaier, the EITI Special Regional Advisor to a discussion on EITI and its adoption in Uganda. In attendance were over 30 representatives from civil society, media and development partners. Her visit was part of the broader advocacy campaign for Uganda to adopt and implement the EITI.

PWYP-U chair- Ms. Winfred Ngabiirwe informed the meeting that despite Uganda’s Oil and Gas policy 2008, explicit commitment to implementing the Initiate, Uganda government’s actions to that effect suggest otherwise. In speech, , Ms. Short called on the government to commit Uganda to implement the EITI standard. She emphasized that the transparent management of oil wealth was essential for the building of the country and to ensure that all the Ugandan people would get the benefits to which they are entitled and avoid secrecy and mismanagement. She added that Uganda must take the opportunity to start EITI from the beginning.

Since no revenues had started flowing, the country had the opportunity to avoid the entrenchment of poor policies in the oil sector by signing on to EITI before production starts. Responding to concerns from the participants on whether it was essential that the country had EITI provisions in the country legislation, Ms. Short informed the group that legislation was good but not a prerequisite to implementation.

All that is needed is a commitment from government, and a singular focus on incorporating it into law allows the government to delay signing on. Ms. Short concluded by saying that EITI is not a cure-all but a tool to contribute to transparency and accountability. Its implementation alone will not prevent the resource curse but it will act as an international spotlight on a government’s dealings with the oil industry as well as a tool to inform the public and inform civil society’s demands for transparency and accountability.