Parliament Lacks Quorum to Vote on Oil Bill

1608 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Parliament has failed to pass a vote on the petroleum exploration, development and production bill because of lack of the required number of legislators to take the vote.

Parliament has failed to pass a vote on the petroleum exploration, development and production bill because of lack of the required number of legislators to take the vote.

Rule 233 of the rules of procedure stipulates that the House must have three quarters of the members to take a vote on any matter.

While debating the bill, Ndorwa East MP Wilfred Niwagaba moved a motion that clause 54 of the bill be deleted. The clause provides that the minister may in exceptional circumstances receive direct applications for an exploration license.

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Most MPs had argued that the bill gives the minister a lot of powers and leaves parliament with no authority to check the powers of the minister. The MPs were able to push for some amendments and roles like granting and revoking of licenses were scrapped from the minister and given to the Petroleum Authority.

The law makers also said that instead of the minister appointing the Authority’s board, the president should appoint it and parliament approves it. They continued their debate against the minister’s powers today by arguing that Clause 54 be deleted for all exploration licenses to be handled by the authority.

The House first used voice voting where a bigger number of MPs voted that the clause should be deleted. Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanya however said that for avoidance of doubt, the House should vote by division lobbying.

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Before the vote was taken, Kigulu South MP Milton Muwuma asked the Speaker to first ascertain whether there was quorum and it was discovered before the vote was taken that the House did not have the required two thirds.

The debate on the oil bills has been poorly attended compared to the enthusiasm that parliament exhibited on the first oil debate in October 2011.