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ULS calls for ring-fencing of legal services in Oil, Gas sector

Uganda Law Society and Petroleum Authority of Uganda officials at Amber House, Kampala, after a discussion on ringfencing of legal services in the oil and gas sector. From left: Mr. Sam Ahamya (ULS), Mr. Ali Ssekatawa (PAU), Mr. Simon Peter Kinobe (ULS President), Mrs. Emma Mugizi (PAU), Mr. Allan Nshimye (ULS) and Mr. Isaac Kabuye (PAU). (PHOTO/Courtesy)

KAMPALA The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has urged the government to ring-fence legal services in the oil and gas sector, for the benefit of Ugandans.

Mr. Simon Peter Kinobe, the ULS President, said ULS  now has capacity to provide legal services to the oil and gas sector even when there is no International Oil Company dealing with the local law firms in the country.

 “The legal fraternity in Kenya seems to be ahead of us as regards issues to do with their oil and gas sector, however in Uganda we do not have an entry point yet,” said Mr. Kinobe.

“There is need to find a way of having legal services ring-fenced for Ugandans if we are to be on the same footing like our Kenyan counterparts”, he added while speaking at a meeting held at the PAU Offices yesterday.

The meeting was between ULS and the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) at PAU offices.

Section125 of the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act 2013 states that preference will be given to goods which are produced or available in Uganda and services which are rendered by Ugandan citizens and companies.

The law provides that where the goods and services required are not available in Uganda, they shall be provided by a company which has entered into a partnership with a Ugandan company.

The Upstream Petroleum National Content Regulations 2016 further list sixteen (16) categories of goods and services that are ring fenced for Ugandans, although the list does not include legal services.

Mr. Ali Ssekatawa, the PAU Director, Legal and Corporate Affairs, welcomed the proposal and urged ULS to advise members to register on the National Supplier Database (NSD) and the National Oil and Gas Talent Register (NOGTR).

“The law requires that suppliers of goods and services to Uganda’s oil and gas industry are sourced from the NSD. The first step, therefore, is to ensure you are registered,” he said.

Mr. Simon Peter Kinobe, the ULS President, noted that the society has capacity to provide legal services to the oil and gas sector.

Mr. Ssekatawa also informed ULS that the PAU promotes linkages between oil and gas and other sectors and will soon organise a conference on the required legal services in the sector.

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