Senate declares London summit on Somalia Oil "unconstitutional"
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Senate has on Tuesday warned that upcoming London conference on Somalia oil could have “extremely serious” consequences, as the country lacks petroleum law and related regulations, Garowe Online reports.
In a statement, seen by Garowe Online, the Upper House's national resource committee has termed the summit which is scheduled to kick off set on Thursday, the 7th February "unconstitutional" and against the law of the Horn of Africa nation.
It said the parliament is yet to approve the petroleum law and the other regulations vital for the oil sector, investment, revenue, and environmental protection as the country still remained fragile and recovering from decades of conflict.
"According to the article 44 of the constitution which clarifies the scheme of the resource sharing is still uncompleted and besides there is a dispute between the regional states and the central Government," read the Senate's statement in part.
Wadajir, the main opposition party in Somalia called in the Federal Government to cease licensing of Somali oil until open and transparent contracting systems, as well as revenue sharing agreements with the Federal Member States, are being implemented.
"The Federal government of Somalia has to stop the deals behind closed doors and open up how it awards contracts of oil deals," said the political party in a statement sent the newsrooms Tuesday.
This makes the London conference unrealistic and uncertainty is looming as Somali petroleum authority, the national body that is in charge for the managing of the oil projects is yet to be established by the UN-backed Federal Government in Mogadishu.
Therefore, any contract signed with the international oil companies in the absence of the relevant regulations and law will make the process illegitimate, according to the Senate's national resource committee.
In an interview with BBC Somali service, the country's Petroleum Minister, Abdirashid Mohamed denied all allegations by the opposition that the government is planning to sell oil blocks un auction during the forthcoming London conference.
Mohamed who is already in London, leading a large government delegation said the spectrum company, which holds the seismic data will showcase possible locations in Somalia, where offshore oil reserves can be extracted in the future.
"The February 7th event in London is only to reveal the legal and regulatory framework and present the geological gained through insight 2D seismic data," said the minister, adding that there will not be a licensing bid round to auction off offshore oil blocks.
Spectrum, the seismic data processing company will cover the travel and accommodation costs for the Somali delegation during their stay in London.
The Union for peace and development [UPD] party, which is chaired by former Somali president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said the country is not ready for offshore oil blocks auction and called for a postponement of the London meeting.