The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa has underscored the Importance of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) (Special Provisions) Bill -as an important “legislation of our time”- because it seeks to facilitate the first crude oil pipeline development in Uganda and the East African Region.
Nankabirwa said that the law will facilitate the Implementation of two important agreements –Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the Republic of Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania which was signed on May 26 2017 and the Host Government Agreement (HGA) -which was entered between the Republic of Uganda and the EACOP Company.
The Minister was briefing members of the Parliamentary Media Association on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) (Special Provisions) Bill, 2021- at the Uganda Parliament conference hall.
Nakabirwa explained that the Ministry of Energy and the other stakeholders in the Oil and Gas sector -started an interaction with the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources Committee (ENRC) of Parliament, which is considering the new law.
“Over the next few days, the MPs will interact with the Oil and Gas technical team and the Learned Attorney General to understand the various aspects of the Bill,” Nankabirwa stated .
The EACOP Bill was expeditiously handled by Cabinet, which approved it on August 30, 2021. It was published in the Uganda Gazette on October 1 2021 and tabled in Parliament for its First Reading on October 5, 2021, before it was forwarded to the Parliamentary Committee for scrutiny.
Hon. Nakabirwa said that EACOP project has the full backing of the governments of the Republic of Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. “This has been demonstrated through the unwavering support by His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda and Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania and her predecessor, the late John Magufuli. “
The Minister said that there was need to have a new law to facilitate the development of the oil pipeline and eventual oil production because through the IGA and HGA, the two States and the Project sponsors identified that the current legal framework in Uganda and Tanzania does not fully support the lawful and effective implementation of the EACOP Project.
Both the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) and the Host Government Agreement (HGA) have made the enactment of an- enabling legislation- a pre-condition for full effectiveness of the agreements to ensure -the proper implementation of the Project in the two sister countries countries.
Tanzania has already enacted the required legislation for implementing the EACOP in their country, and it is now critical that Uganda as the resource owner, expeditiously does the same.
” The enabling law enacted by Tanzania is consistent with the IGA and HGA that were agreed upon. Therefore, it is expected that the same must be achieved in Uganda for the Project to progress,” Nankabirwa stressed.
She further explained the rationale for harmonisation of the enabling legislation both in Uganda and Tanzania- noting that the EACOP is a complex integrated cross border pipeline whose successful implementation can best be achieved with an aligned legal and regulatory regime.
She said that the EACOP Bill now before parliament for processing once enacted will among others give efficacy to the Agreement for the EACOP ,ensure the lawful implementation of the EACOP Project in Uganda and give reassurance to the investors of the government’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations under the HGA.
Uganda has already started benefiting from the EACOP project through the tier one contracts that have been conditionally awarded by the oil companies, pending enactment of enabling legislation. These contracts incorporate national content through which Ugandans and Ugandan companies are meant to benefit.
” Government of Tanzania has taken positive steps to meet its obligations under the treaty (IGA), including fast-tracking the enabling legislation in Tanzania, committing to 15% shareholding in the pipeline company by their state entity and providing land in Tanga for the establishment of the port required for the Project,” Nankabirwa revealed .
“We have told ENRC and the 11th Parliament that they now have the privileged opportunity to unlock Uganda’s oil and gas sector and strengthen Uganda’s relations with Tanzania through the expeditious enactment of the EACOP Bill,” she stressed.
The EACOP Bill is equally critical in achieving the National Development Plan III objective that identified the Petroleum Sector as one of the anchors for the transformation of the economy through revenue generation, infrastructure development and job creation.
“I am therefore optimistic that with the current momentum and shared vision that we have as a country in terms of the expected benefits and contribution of the oil and gas sector to the development of our country, we shall, in a concerted manner, ensure the enactment of the EACOP bill expeditiously,” she added.
Minister Nankabirwa thanked President Yoweri Museveni for guiding the country through the oil and gas journey, which is now reaching fruition.
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