You appeared to suggest that mandatory reporting requirements ensuring oil, gas and mining companies disclose the payments they make in each country of operation would in some way breach the sovereignty of producer countries. Let me assure you as a citizen and representative of Uganda this is not the case. In fact we celebrated the passing of the Dodd-Frank Act in July and are actively looking forward to counterpart legislation in the European Union

Ugandan MP Henry Banyenzaki, who is also Chairman of Uganda’s Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas, has written an open letter to the CEO of Shell, Peter Voser, assuring Mr Voser that his belief that the introduction of mandatory reporting requirements ensuring oil, gas and mining companies disclose the payments they make in each country of operation would in some way breach the sovereignty of producer countries was not justified. He called upon the EU to introduce similar legislation to that recently passed in the United States (the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform and Consumer Protection Act) and welcomed the introduction of such legislation in relation to prospects for his own country Uganda, which has recently discovered large oil reserves.

For the letter please click here or see below

Dear Mr Voser,

RE:DISCLOSURE OF PAYMENTS BY EXTRACTIVE COMPANIES ON A COUNTRY-BY-COUNTRY BASIS

I write to you in my capacity as a Member of Parliament in Uganda and Chair of the Ugandan Parliamentary forum on Oil and Gas.

I was disturbed to hear of comments attributed to you at the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative conference held recently in Paris. You appeared to suggest that mandatory reporting requirements ensuring oil, gas and mining companies disclose the payments they make in each country of operation would in some way breach the sovereignty of producer countries. Let me assure you as a citizen and representative of Uganda this is not the case. In fact we celebrated the passing of the Dodd-Frank Act in July and are actively looking forward to counterpart legislation in the European Union, not least because the companies in operation here are not New York listed. As a non-EITI candidate country the need is even more pronounced.

I’m sure you will know that our country has recently discovered large quantities of oil. It has the potential to significantly accelerate economic and social development. This oil belongs to the people, not to political and business elites. Sovereignty can only be enhanced by empowering people with the type of information which the Dodd-Frank Act will provide – information that citizens of many countries take for granted.

It is the duty of both citizens and parliamentarians to hold the executive branches of government accountable for the prudent and appropriate expenditure of state revenues. It therefore follows that the mandatory disclosure of extractive company payments to governments, especially on a project by project basis, is fully in keeping with the facilitation of the necessary checks and balances essential to ensuring respect for the sovereignty of producer countries.

Breaking down payments to the project level reduces the opportunities for corrupt accounting and gives local people a better understanding of the assets that exist in their communities. That is why I am urging European leaders to act swiftly to implement their version of Dodd-Frank.

I do hope you will reconsider your opposition to the wave of transparency reforms that are being celebrated throughout Africa, and indeed the world.

I am copying this letter to President Sarkozy, Prime Minister Rutte, Commissioner Barnier, Chancellor Osborne and members of the press.

Yours Sincerely,

Henry Banyenzaki MP

Chairman, Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas

This article originally appeared on the APPG website

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