Oil won’t help Uganda if corruption stays high
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has expressed concern about corruption in the country, saying that if the vice is not tackled, the long-awaited oil money may not flow to the country.
USAID Country Director Richard Nelson said at a meeting hosted by the Government Inspectorate-IG to brief development partners on anti-corruption strategies, Uganda is moving closer to oil production, the country should tackle the vice of corruption, otherwise the oil products might be lost due to corruption.
This year, TotalEnergies and its partner China National Offshore Oil Corporation reached an agreement with Uganda and Tanzania to invest more than $10 billion in the development of crude oil production in East Africa.
Uganda plans to produce 230,000 barrels of oil per salary for over ten years and attract revenues of over $2 billion a year, or over 7.3 trillion shillings.
However, according to the IG, the country loses more than 20 trillion shillings a year to corruption. It is for this reason that Richard says that unless corruption is tackled, Uganda would gain on one side while losing a substantial amount of money on the other side, which could hamper development.
Nelson says that although there have been no studies indicating that oil money could be lost to corruption, the trend in several oil-producing countries is that oil money is being diverted away from the country.
Nelson therefore noted that Uganda should not only invest in lucrative projects but also in building the integrity of the people as the Corruption Index clearly shows how much the country loses due to corruption.
The Inspector General of Government, Beti Kamya, said in his response that it is important to invest in transparency and ensure proper accountability to prevent Uganda’s resources and funds from being misdirected. managed.
Kamya says the fight against corruption should be a collective effort where citizens report any instances of corruption to the authorities to bring them under the long arm of the law. The IG recently launched a Lifestyle Audit, an anti-corruption model that compares a person’s income to their known wealth. If a person’s wealth is far beyond their income, then they are investigated and forced to return funds or other assets they may have gained through corrupt tendencies .
Kamya is optimistic that when Uganda saves the 20 trillion shillings lost to corruption, there will be enough money to give to parishes to establish infrastructure and capitalize people’s businesses.
As the IG seeks to step up its efforts to fight corruption and recover assets acquired by officials especially by stealing from the government, the Inspectorate says their hands are partly tied by the law which does not allow them to recover assets until the court so decides.
According to Patricia Achan Okiria, the second Deputy Inspector General of the Inspectorate, Uganda has yet to finalize the process of establishing a conviction-free asset recovery system. She says the Inspectorate is working with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to ensure that the current asset recovery law provides for recovery before conviction and before the court issues an order authorizing recovery.
However, Joyce Ngaiza of the British High Commission advised the Inspectorate to work with the Chief Justice to create a secular procedure allowing asset recovery without conviction. She says waiting for politicians to make changes to the law could take time and cost the country more.