Recent Articles

After years of secrecy, Uganda’s government released its oil contracts to the parliamentary library.
When companies sell their oil and gas assets before production has even begun, they may turn a profit long before the host country can collect the tax revenues typically associated with production. The prospect of an immediate upside for industry with uncertain or delayed benefits for countries has sparked a debate over capital gains taxes on pre-production sales. Analyst and RWI advisor Keith Myers reviews current controversies in Uganda and Ghana, using these emerging oil nations to make the case for clearer extractive sector taxation rules.
This May, the government of Uganda circulated a draft Petroleum Bill for the management of the country's emerging oil sector. In a new analysis of the bill from the Revenue Watch Institute, Professor Robert. D. Langenkamp concludes that, despite several positive attributes, the new bill leaves many questions unanswered and many problems unaddressed.
The Revenue Watch Institute is launching an extensive training program for suitably qualified journalists from Ghana and Uganda interested in oil and gas reporting. The training program will begin in July/August 2010 and take place over the following six to eight months. There are approximately 14 places available this year: seven for Ghanaian journalists and seven for Ugandan journalists.
On February 25-26, 2010, Revenue Watch and the Kampala-based Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) held a training on petroleum and gas governance for parliamentarians and civil society in Entebbe, Uganda. Approximately 35 members of Parliament (MPs) from the Natural Resources, Public Accounts and Finance, and the Planning and Economic Development Committees of the Parliament of Uganda, as well as five leading Ugandan civil society organizations attended the event.
In 2008, the Revenue Watch Institute launched two groundbreaking, intensive fellowship programs. In contrast to our traditional investments in civil society organizations, the Capacity Advancement Fellowship in Extractives and the Petrad Fellowship seek out individuals interested in engaging in the extractive industries or starting a new direction of work. These rigorous programs aim to build the knowledge, networks and confidence of the fellows so that they can provide improved programming in their home organizations or coalitions.
On November 6, the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) hosted a training workshop in Kampala, Uganda to promote contract transparency in Uganda's oil sector. The training, sponsored by Revenue Watch with contributions from Publish What You Pay Uganda and the Open Society Initiative for East Africa, brought together a diverse set of actors, including civil society groups, members of parliament and journalists, to promote public disclosure of the country's oil contracts.
International Alert (IA), an independent peace building organization that works in communities affected by violent conflict, recently launched a report on Uganda's emerging petroleum industry, "Harnessing Oil for Peace and Development in Uganda: Understanding National, Local and Cross-border Conflict Risks Associated with Oil Discoveries in the Albertine Rift." The report is the second briefing paper in International Alert's "Investing in Peace" series, which targets policy-makers in government, development partners, civil society and the private sector to explore the "political economy" of conflicts in Uganda.
Uganda's nascent oil sector has taken important steps during 2009. Early production was initially scheduled to begin in June, but was postponed after the discovery of additional reserves and the announcement of tentative plans for a new government refinery that could produce heavy fuel oil for electricity generation. (The government is currently seeking potential investors.) In the legislative realm, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has been shaping a framework to implement the National Oil and Gas policy enacted in January, 2008. This framework is still under discussion in the cabinet.
As Uganda prepares to become an oil-producing country, one expert is asking if the nation's new-found reserves will yield national growth or economic doom. In an article in Uganda's "New Vision," researcher Frank Tumusiime, of the Africa Institute for Energy Governance, questions whether the country is positioned to translate oil revenues into capital investments for development.
Oil exploration in Uganda is progressing rapidly, with numerous oil reserves being discovered, and more wells drilled in the Albertine region in the last two years. This rise in exploration raises expectations of an increase in the number of barrels of oil Uganda produces, from current estimated at 4,000 to 10,000 barrels per day.
To reverse the role natural resource wealth has traditionally played in fueling conflict and corruption in many African countries, a plan to foster cooperation among East African legislatures on the management and oversight of the region's oil and mineral resources has been drafted by representatives of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).