Parliament compels Government to cancel an oil sale contract [Archives:2004/741/Local News]

May 27 2004

Ismail Al-Ghabiri
Monday, 17 May, 2004- During a parliamentary session, in presence of some members of the government, excluding the Prime Minister and Minister of Oil and Minerals, MPS rejected the deal to sell the government's share in oil sector no. 53, Shabwah Governorate, to Dove Oil Company.
The sale contract had generated a lengthy argument and had developed into a dispute and contest between the government and parliament.
In an unprecedented development, MPs voted unanimously in favor of cancellation of the contract, based on the report of a parliamentary commission which consisted of members of the oil and development, finance, constitutional, and planning committees of the parliament. The commission concluded that the sale contract was not in the best interests of the country. This is contrary to the previous decision of the government to go ahead with the contract.
The MPs threatened to hold a vote of confidence in the government of Prime Minister, Mr. Ba Jamal. They threatened to withdraw the trust of his government if the sale contract was not permanently nullified. The Prime Minister previously cast doubts on the legality of the proceedings and the constitutional procedures through which the parliament had approached this issue.