The Prime Minister of Buganda has lashed out at those opposed to the development of Uganda’s oil resources insisting the country has a right to exploit its mineral resources.
Mr. Charles Peter Mayiga made the remarks during a recent courtesy call meeting by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) and the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), at Bulange, Mengo 15 March.
The PAU is the regulatory body for oil and gas activities in Uganda while UNOC holds Uganda’s commercial interests in the oil and gas value chain. Dr Jane Mulemwa, Board Chairperson/PAU and Mr. Katongole Emmanuel, Board Chairperson/UNOC led the two entities for the courtesy visit.
Mr. Mayiga said Uganda should be in position and in control to fully exploit “our” natural resources and nobody should use false campaigns to deter this opportunity.
“Uganda should exploit its oil because it is God-given. This oil is a finite resource. It will not be here for long; therefore, we should fully exploit it while it is still here with us. It is selfish for better economies to persuade the world not to invest in Uganda,” Mr. Mayiga stressed.
Uganda’s oil project has in the past faced a lot of opposition from NGOs opposed to the development of new fossil projects.
A court in France recently threw out a lawsuit brought by environmental campaigners against TotalEnergies over its oil projects in Uganda and Tanzania.
The campaigners wanted the court to order TotalEnergies to stop the East African projects under France’s duty of vigilance law.
Dr Jane Mulemwa, Board Chairperson/PAU appealed to Mr. Mayiga to support Government’s efforts to sensitise the public with the right information that is factual.
“Given your strong voice, Owekitiibwa (Mayiga), please join in, come on board, and educate people with correct information about Uganda’s oil and gas sector. We need all the key stakeholders to give facts on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline,” said Dr. Jane Mulemwa.
Dr. Mulemwa also highlighted the importance of the National Supplier database (NSD), an online repository for all companies intending to supply the oil and gas sector and the National Oil and Gas Talent Register (NOGTR) that increases the visibility of those who wish to work in the sector.
“The two key frameworks were conceptualized by the Authority to ensure that Ugandans are given first priority with regard to opportunities in the oil and gas sector,” said Dr. Mulemwa.
Mr. Emmanuel Katongole, the Board Chairperson of UNOC affirmed that the oil and gas sector is Uganda’s game changer and called upon the Katikkiro to use Buganda’s existing structures to rally support for the projects.
Mr. Robert Waggwa Nsibirwa, the Second Deputy Katikkiro, who doubles as the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning called for the implementation of legacy projects in the areas that the East Africa Crude Oil pipeline (EACOP) is going to pass as this will ensure the positive transformation of the lives of people living in those areas.
Discussions also centred on the critical role that the Buganda kingdom can play in ensuring the oil and gas projects create lasting value for the people in Uganda.
The Government of Uganda was commended for ensuring a smooth land compensation process in the Buganda region whilst working hand in hand with the Buganda land board.
Mr. Mayiga also implored the two entities to ensure lasting value from the oil and gas flagship projects in upstream and midstream.
“Bunyoro and Buganda regions must receive royalties from the resources in their respective areas, protect the environment and promote agriculture for the benefit of our people,” said Mr. Mayiga.
He also highlighted the need to use the windfall profits from oil revenues to promote access to education, improvement of public infrastructure, and access to safe water for every household in Uganda.