Uganda parliament passes oil bill

Parliament-Of-UgandawikiThe passing of the bill by the country has been seen as an attempt by Uganda to fast-track the enactment of new oil laws. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)The Ugandan parliament has passed a bill to fast-track the enactment of oil laws, ahead of the planned development of oil fields along Uganda's western border

The passing of the bill has brought the country closer to reopening a new licensing round for the remaining acreage in the oil-rich Lake Albertine Rift basin.

The ruling National Resistance Movement party-dominated parliament voted to pass the midstream bill, known as the Petroleum Refining, Conversion, Transmission and Midstream Storage Bill 2012, nearly three months after the upstream oil bill was passed.

The passing of the bill by the country has been seen as an attempt by Uganda to fast-track the enactment of new oil laws, following the discovery of around 3.5bn barrels of crude reserves.

Parliamentary spokeswoman, Helen Kawesa, told Dow Jones Newswires that the house will now consider a third and final oil revenue management bill to complete the new law chain.

Kawesa said, “There’s only one final bill pending, which will also be passed in the coming weeks.”

The midstream bill will regulate midstream operations, which include refining, transportation and storage of oil products, once the country started production.

Unlike the previous upstream law, whose passing was delayed for several months, the midstream law quickly sailed through the house just after a few weeks of debate.

Lawmaker Stephen Birahwa said ruling party law makers endorsed the bill before its presentation to the plenary, speeding up its passage.

Activists have, however, criticised the bill saying that it will give sweeping powers to the minister, which could become a threat to good governance.

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