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Diplomats advise Uganda on governance of oil and gas industry

By John Odyek

Added 13th June 2018 09:35 PM

The convention was held at the Kampala Serena Hotel. It was organised by the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum and the ministry of energy.

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The convention was held at the Kampala Serena Hotel. It was organised by the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum and the ministry of energy.

PIC: Peter West, British High Commissioner (Left in the first row) and Hans Peter Christophersen (In spectacles, Right in the first row), Counsellor for Trade and Energy at the Norwegian Embassy take a photograph with entrepreneurs who received certificates after undergoing training to supply the oil and gas industry. (Credit: John Odyek)
 
MINERALS
 
KAMPALA - Diplomats have called for a strong governance framework to manage the oil and gas resources in national interest for Uganda.
 
Dr Etubom Nya Asuquo, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Uganda while speaking to over 1,000 delegates at an oil and gas convention said the success of Uganda’s oil industry will depend on the regulators.
 
“We hope the bad experience of the industry does not happen here. The Petroleum Authority must be very serious. Most oil companies some of which are richer than Uganda have many ways in trying not to do what they are supposed to do,” Asuquo said.
 
The convention was held at the Kampala Serena Hotel. It was organised by the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum and the ministry of energy.
 
He added that many companies and institutions will make flowery presentations about what they intend to do but will not deliver accordingly.
 
Ambassador Hugo Verbist, Belgium Ambassador to Uganda observed that many countries with abundant natural resources have not fared well and are struggling with inflationary pressures that affect competitiveness.
 
“It is how well Uganda will prepar for oil that will determine how much the country will benefit. Many skills are needed; those skills are useful for other industries. Economic growth from oil and minerals must benefit all.
 
Local communities should be safeguarded from the loss of their land and fairly compensated for its use. Concerns by NGOs, labour and civil society organisations must be taken into account,” Verbist said.
 
He stressed the importance of protecting the environment while extracting oil. He said Uganda’s bio-diversity and wonderful landscapes should last beyond the last drop of oil being pumped out. “Thinking about nature and environment also implies promoting renewable and ecologically friendly sources of energy”.
 
He warned against a situation where miners are working in dangerous conditions, the use of child labor, wildlife put at risk, the deprivation of tax revenues that could be spent on schools, hospitals, roads, people losing land and livelihood.
 

 Dr Etubom Nya Asuquo, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Uganda.(Credit:John Odyek)

Peter West, British High Commissioner to Uganda tipped Uganda to seize quickly the opportunity that oil and gas can bring. “Some people said they have waited for too long. It is important to seize the opportunity quickly.
 
There are big opportunities in the refinery, in the pipeline. Things are in place, it is important that standards are maintained,” West remarked.
 
West noted that taking up the opportunities will boost a wider confidence in Uganda’s economy and political system. West speaking as one of the guest speakers said it was important that there was honesty and transparency in the industry.
 
“Many companies and investors have come and looked at the opportunities. It is important the folk who come to fully understand what is on offer. The industry is a show case for Uganda to attract first class world players, you need more investors. It is the time for Uganda to be put on the map,” West explained.
 
He further said the industry was important for the diversity of Uganda’s economy. “We want to see Uganda succeed, we want to see Uganda stand on its two feet and powering in the region.
 
The prism through which the industry should be seen is beyond the oil and gas industry but government’s ambitious agenda to deliver development,” he said.
 
Hans Peter Christophersen, Counsellor for Trade and Energy at the Norwegian Embassy in Uganda said Uganda needs to use expatriates in the oil industry for some time as the country gains skills and knowledge. Christophersen warned against the dangers of oil spills and accidents which can damage lakes, rivers and the environment.

 

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