Officials from the Energy ministry were this week thrown out of parliament after they failed to present a single progress report by International Oil Companies (IOCs).
Legislators on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) were stunned to learn that for the past five years, there had been noncompliance by oil companies to report to the ministry about their activities.
Officials led by Energy ministry permanent secretary Robert Kasande were appearing before the committee to respond to the value-for-money audit reports on the management of petroleum data for the year ended December 31, 2016.
Section 148 (6 (a) & (b)) of the Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production (PEDP) Act 2013 requires IOCs to submit semi-annual reports indicating geological, geochemical and geophysical work carried out including a summary of drilling activity, results obtained and annual reports indicting operations by the license in the year to which the license relates.
The commissioner in charge of the petroleum exploration and production department, Honey Malinga, confirmed that no reports were ever submitted by the companies since the ministry was undergoing a massive transition.
The committee accused the officials of not performing their duties and tasked them to explain the magnitude of transition that barred companies from submitting reports in vain. However, Malinga said reminders to Tullow Oil demanding compliance were sent, though “quite late”.
The committee resolved to summon former commissioners Fred Kabanda and Ernest Rubondo and the Energy minister Irene Muloni for further explanation.
“The fear I have with non-submission of reports is that the country is now going to rely on the God’s mercy of the oil companies to determine how much we pay them because there are no records of how much they are doing in terms of operations and the monies they are investing,” Kira Municipality MP Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda said.
The committee’s concern is that once the country begins selling oil, the companies will simply appear on table and claim for any amount of money, which may not be payable by government.