By LYDIA AMUYA OMECH
KAMPALA, SHIFTMEDIA- Civil Society Advocates want reforms on the planned Financial Amendment Bill 2021.
Addressing the press at the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) offices on Monday, the activists outlined sections of the planned Financial Amendment Bill 2021 that needs changed.
The Bill seeks to water down the safeguards in the management and spending of oil revenue. Civil Society have made alternate proposals to the bill.
Among those are sections 58 of the PFMA that restricts the Uganda National Oil Company from freely accessing and utilizing funds under its mandate.
The activists are advocating for the National Oil Company to have leverage on funds direct from its petroleum fund. “There should be a memorandum of understanding developed between Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development, Uganda National Oil Company, and Bank of Uganda to access funds based on UNOC’s approved investment workplans and budget,” said CSBAG Executive Director Julius Makunda.
Peninah Mbabazi, the Program officer at SEATINI Uganda said the bill at its current forms still has gaps that needs to be filled.
“It will be hard to monitor and evaluate on top, the tax incentives will be increased because of clauses such as selling of the oil expensively,” said Mbabazi.
Patrick Katabazi from the Center for Budget and Tax Policy said the oil in Uganda should be a blessing and not a “curse”. He said that since the oil was discovered and scores of agreements signed, the issue regarding collection and utilization of the proceed remains a thorn in flesh.
Joseph Mukasa Ngubusagye from the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) told the press that he foresees an abuse by some of implementing agencies in the oil sector.
The reflections were based on the civil societies perspective regarding the Finance Management Amendment Bill 2021 that was presented before the floor of parliament on September 27 2021.
The Bill among others contains four contentious clauses that seeks to allow the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) to retain a portion of the proceeds from the sale of petroleum