The journey to enact a law governing the oil exploration, development and production in Uganda has finally ended after a year of tough debates and speculation.
President Yoweri Museveni has signed the Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production Bill 2012, which parliament passed in December last year.
Kabagambe Kaliisa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, said on Tuesday the president signed the Bill and was subsequently published in the gazette on April 5, an action, which completes the cycle of formulating a law.
Kabagambe says he is glad the legislation that faced delay owing to a long debate has finally been enacted. Parliament took more than three months debating on the law after disagreements emerged between the Legislature and the Executive over the powers given to the Energy Minister.
Fred Kabanda, the head of Regulatory Unit at the ministry’s Petroleum Exploration and Production Department, says the signing of the Bill now paves way for licensing of new exploration areas.
He says they are expectant that the legislative process will help the sector to uphold the required regulations.
The Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production Act 2012 paves way for the establishment of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda and the National Oil Company. It also regulates the licensing and participation of commercial entities in petroleum activities among other provisions.
Other proposed pieces of legislation intended to help regulate the oil sector include the Petroleum Refining, Gas Processing and Conversion, Transportation and Storage Bill that parliament passed in February and is awaiting presidential assent. The Public Finance Bill, which has the Petroleum Revenue Management component, is still before parliament.