Some Opposition MPs have expressed regret over boycotting plenary sitting, saying their absence saw Parliament pass the Petroleum Supply Amendment Bill, which gave monopoly to Uganda National Oil Company to import fuel products in Uganda, which could increase the cost of fuel in Uganda.
Parliament passed the Petroleum Supply (Amendment), Bill 2023, giving UNOC exclusivity to import and supply all petroleum products destined for Ugandan market.
The Petroleum Supply (Amendment), Bill 2023 is aimed at eliminating the middlemen in the oil supply chain that are said to be the cause of fluctuations in oil pump prices.
UNOC is a government owned company established to handle government’s commercial interests in the petroleum sector.
Bbale County MP Charles Tebandeke compared the Petroleum Supply Bill 2023 to cancer, syphilis and gonorrhea, warning that the new legislation is not only going to affect incomes of Ugandans, but also rob them of their economic rights under the new monopoly.
“As the Opposition, I am one of those regretting why I didn’t attend plenary because even if it meant sitting on top of the table and even break all the microphones inside the chambers. If our brains had failed us that day, at least we could have used the energy drawn from the food we eat to see to it that this bill doesn’t pass,” said Tebandeke.
He added that, But because we had made our stand not to attend plenary in writing and because we had thought our colleagues were capable of reading the details in our minority report, and that they would understand and pass this law on behalf of Ugandans. But we regret that the law was passed to suit their interests and greed where they will benefit at the expense of the incomes of other Ugandans.”
Tebandeke also revealed that some aggrieved MPs on the Natural Resources Committee are analyzing the conduct of their Committee Chairperson, with the option of censuring him based on the way he oversaw the process of scrutinized the Petroleum Supply Bill 2023.
“We are still analyzing and holding talks with our colleagues and if there is any chance, the Chairperson (Emmanuel Otaala-West Budama South) we want to censure him because those powers are given to the Committee. We want to ask President Museveni for the first time, to return this bill to Parliament or even throw it in the bin for the good of other Ugandans,” Tebandeke.
Hoima City MP Asanasi Nyakato said that as the Opposition, they rejected monopoly, because it is what she described as a very bad animal that has come through the UNOC fuel deal, saying its disadvantages outweigh the advantages.
This Petroleum Supply Bill was so silent about pone company Vitol Bahrain, which will be importing to UNOC and in the same deal encouraged that Government should facilitate UNOC. We were informed by UNOC that they also registered UNOC in Kenya which is privately owned as parliament, we aren’t in the know of who the stakeholders are. We are so worried that this UNOC of Kenya’s interest may out compete the interests in Uganda,” said Nyakato.
She revealed that the Petroleum Supply Bill was so silent about pone company Vitol Bahrain, which will be importing to UNOC and in the same deal encouraged that Government should facilitate UNOC.
“We were informed by UNOC that they also registered UNOC in Kenya which is privately owned as parliament, we aren’t in the know of who the stakeholders are. We are so worried that this UNOC of Kenya’s interest may out compete the interests in Uganda,”she noted.
Speaker Anitah Among has doubled down on her warning to MPs who snub plenary sittings, saying she has started counting the number of times MPs clock in, and action will be taken against any MP found to have missed 15 sittings in a row.
“I will not get tired of reminding you to clock in and I am counting days. We are using taxpayers money, the money that is being paid to MPs is taxpayers’ money, so when we see people who don’t want to come to the House, then we know they should be accountable for what they are doing,”she said.