I read with dismay an article entitled â€˜Give oil money to Ugandans in cashâ€™ in one of the dailies of August 15 attributed to reputable US researchers of the Centre for Global Development.
They were quoted to have argued that â€˜putting petro-dollars into infrastructural development could spur development but because of weak institutional capacity and political patronage it will likely result in skewed domestic choices and corruptionâ€™.
They submitted further that, â€˜countries that start off from weak institutional capacity and poor governance prior to the discovery of oil or large mineral resources are likely to fall victim to the oil curse. Oil revenues are likely to exacerbate these institutional weaknesses leading to greater corruption and poor overall governance.â€™
I beg to disagree with the researchersâ€™ idea, reasoning and conclusions. Is this the kind of proposal a reputable research centre should advise a nation?
Granted we may be short of resources and skills to develop our oil industry but I donâ€™t think Ugandans are impoverished of ideas to the extent that they do not know how to manage their national oil revenues in a sustainable manner.
In his New Year address, President Museveni was very categorical as to how the Government intends to use oil revenues to develop the country. The president stated that, since oil is a finite resource, oil revenue will be used to develop durable and competitive competencies that increase productivity in key sectors of the economy. He cited four key sectors.
These are energy infrastructure, rail transport and major road infrastructure, small, medium and large irrigation schemes and lastly, to invest in science and technology including enhancing technical and vocational education. He promised Ugandans that oil revenues shall not be used for consumption but for durable investments that will benefit future generations.
The Governmentâ€™s plans for the use of oil revenues are spot on. We certainly need a modern specialised legislation and regulations which lay down the rules governing exploration and production of oil and gas to ensure transparency, protection of revenue and the environment from harmful effects of oil and gas activities and create an investor confidence in our oil industry.
We should be proposing ideas of how to help the Government protect this revenue instead of proposing unsustainable ways.
Student, University of Western Australia
Dishing out oil cash is hogwash