Members of Parliament sitting on the Budget committee have accused the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development for delaying the process to amend the Mining Act 2003, which among others gives authority to every private sector player to hold mineral exploration licenses.
While meeting officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development this week, MPs called for expeditious amendment of the law.
The Mining Act, 2003 vests the ownership and control of all minerals in Uganda in the Government; and provides for the acquisition of mineral rights.
The law also does not provide for checks and balances on non-performers, thereby affecting the performance of the sector.
“Licenses are being held by briefcase and incapable companies without technology and capital. Until we revoke all those licenses, the sector’s performance will not improve,” said Stephen Mukitale Biraahwa, Buliisa MP.
Kasese District Woman MP Winfred Kiiza wondered why the Ministry does not find it important to expedite the process of amending the law.
“I thought the law is necessary for the interest of the ministry. I really question why the ministry has to be compelled to bring the law,” said Kiiza.
The committee Chairperson also Ntenjeru North North legislator Amos Lugoloobi said that whilst sectors like electricity are making progress, the mineral sector is still lagging behind.
“There is need to seriously work on the law so that we resolve some of these problems,” he revealed.
Vincent Kedi, Ag. Commissioner Minerals admitted that the current law has weaknesses, which affect the performance of the sector.
“Any Ugandan can meet the current legal obligations under the current Act and when you try to look for loopholes to cancel licenses, it is hard to find. But all the same we have cancelled some licenses.”
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