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Unregulated Mining Industry Dangerous to Country-Experts :: Uganda Radionetwork

Unregulated Mining Industry Dangerous to Country-Experts

Dr Kabumba argued that the debate on the successful and exploration of the country's mineral wealth should start with "state and constitutional reconstruction which would ensure a more positive view of the countrys resources by the state.

Audio 5

Experts and practitioners in the extractives industry have warned of adverse effects on Uganda unless there is strict regulation and hence transparency.

Unless strict rules and regulations are put in place and strictly enforced, there will also be very little or no benefit to the citizens, they say.

Recently, the government has enacted different laws and drawn policies aimed at ensuring proper exploitation of the resources for the benefit of the citizens, protection of the environment, and generally, national transformation.

However, Dr Busingye Kabumba, a Makerere University lecturer says considering how the existing extractives, like gold, forests, and others, are being illegally exploited, the laws and regulations will not help citizens benefit from the industry when more lucrative products like oil and rare earths are got.

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He was speaking at the Citizens Convention on Extractives 2023 National Conference featuring government departments, NGOs, and members from academia.

According to Kabumba, it is the lack of willingness of the country's leadership to be strict and honest that is leading to the illegalities in the sector, which has also seen host communities become uncomfortable with the way the resources are being exploited.

In his paper, Extraction and Constitutional Reconstruction, Kabumba argued that the debate on the successful exploration of the country's mineral wealth should start with "state and constitutional reconstruction" which would also ensure a more positive view of the country's resources by the state.

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Other speakers also expressed concerns that the lack of transparency and accountability, as well as the low level of enforcement of the laws, will lead to capital flight and illicit financial flows, which are dangerous to the safety and economic progress of the country.

The two-day convention is organised by Global Rights Alert in partnership with other NGOs and government departments, under the theme: Shaping Mineral Wealth and the Energy Agenda.

Winfred Ngabiirwe, the Executive Director, Global Rights Alert says that if the challenge of illicit financial flows is not tackled Uganda as a country will not benefit from the many minerals that have been discovered.

She specifically pointed out the lack of transparency, which threatens to derail the role of the minerals sector in the transformation of the country.

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At the same event, artisanal miners welcomed the passing of the Mining and Minerals Act which they said responded to many of their grievances, especially the ability to upgrade a license to a Small Scale, Medium, or Large Scale Mining License.

However, John Bosco Bukya, the Chairman Uganda Association of Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners, said there are still many challenges, that force some of the miners to operate outside the law or regulation.

He gave the example of the clauses on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) certificate, which do not differentiate between them and the large-scale operators.

According to him, the law makes the EIA too expensive for them.

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David Sebagala, the Inspector of Mines at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development said the new law and the clauses therein were informed by the serious violations of environmental laws by the small miners.

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