The government of Uganda has been asked to subscribe to Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global Standard, to promote open and accountable management of natural resources.
To ensure government adheres to its responsibility of being an accountable stakeholder in the extractive industry, Global Rights Alert (GRA), a human rights- civil society organization based in Kampala, launched ‘Our Oil Our Future’ campaign.
The campaign seeks to encourage the government of Uganda to improve transparency in the governance of oil and other mineral resources by signing on to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).
The campaign will collect 1000 signatures from the public with each signature petitioning the president to subscribe to EITI so that the government and oil companies open up on their transaction to allow citizens follow the transactions.
The #OurOilOurFuture campaign seeks to put an end to oil secrecy as it has been exhibited in oil producing countries. By signing onto the petition, Ugandans will be demanding for accountability and good governance within the extractive industry.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Standard guides countries in setting up effective mechanisms so that citizens can know what companies are paying to government, and what government officially receives from companies.
Winfred Ngabiirwe, the executive director of GRA, in an interview at the launch explained that once the public is able to trace the money exchanging hands between government and companies, Ugandans are able to monitor and know if they are getting the services they deserve.
In order to see substantive improvements to the level of transparency in Uganda’s oil and minerals sectors, there must be commitment from the highest levels of government, Ngabiirwe said, adding that they expect a positive response from government within three months.
Since by law natural resources, such as oil, gas, metals and minerals, belong to a country’s citizens, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative seeks to strengthen government and company systems, inform public debate, and enhance trust.
Extraction of these resources can lead to economic growth and social development. However, when poorly managed it has too often lead to corruption and even conflict. More openness around how a country manages its natural resource wealth is necessary to ensure that these resources can benefit all citizens.