Mixed Reactions as Tullow Appoints Ugandan Manager

2448 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The appointment of a Ugandan national as General Manager of Tullow Oil has drawn mixed reactions with sections of the public saying the management of the country’s oil resource could be heading to a right direction. Tullow Oil Uganda on Monday announced the appointment of Jimmy Mugerwa as General Manager of its operations in the country.

The appointment of a Ugandan national as General Manager of Tullow Oil has drawn mixed reactions with sections of the public saying the management of the country’s oil resource could be heading to a right direction. 

Tullow Oil Uganda on Monday announced the appointment of Jimmy Mugerwa as General Manager of its operations in the country. He replaces Eion Mekie, who has been instrumental in the farm down, a process where Tullow had to sell part of its stake in the oil wells to Total and China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC).

Mugerwa, who was until last month Shell East Africa’s general manger for sales as well as Shell Kenya country chairman, will according to a Tullow statement be tasked with delivery of the Oil company’s oil programme in Lake Albert Basin Development Plan. He takes office in October.

He is also tasked with working with Government, Total and CNOOC to design and develop the Lake Albert Development Plan from current exploration to when oil is finally produced. 

Reuben Kashambuzi, a retired commissioner for Petroleum Exploration and Production Department in the Ministry of Energy, describes Mugerwa’s appointment as good news that a Ugandan is finally at the highest management level in Tullow.

Kashambuzi says the appointment means more of the money from the Industry will remain in Uganda. Reports have indicated that Tullow’s expatriate mangers have been earning over eight billion shillings per year.

Kashambuzi, who has until recently been Oil and Gas Chief Technical Advisor to Energy Ministry, hopes that Mugerwa will exhibit his expertise to move the developments in the oil sector to the desired level.

Irene Muloni, the Energy and Mineral Development Minister, says it is exciting that a Ugandan has been appointed. She expressed hope that Mugerwa will inspire other Ugandans to acquire the required skills to get employed in oil and gas sector.

Muloni says the government has from the beginning wished to have more Ugandans employed to top managerial positions in Tullow and other oil companies.

But Dickens Kamugisha, the executive Director of African Institute for Energy Governance, says the appointment of a Ugandan to the top management of Tullow may not necessarily mean all is well in the oil and gas Industry.

He says the appointment will only be meaningful once Mugerwa serves the interests of development of the Industry for the benefit of Ugandans but not to be used to only champion the interests of the oil company.

A local content study commissioned by Energy and Mineral Development Ministry recommended the employment of Ugandans at decision making level in oil companies. It also encouraged the participation of Ugandan companies to achieve the so-called national content.

Participation of nationals in management of the resources like minerals and oil is considered one of the best practices to avoid the so-called resource curse.  

Kamugisha says the ongoing formulation of laws governing the oil and gas Industry should provide clear guidelines on how to achieve local content above just appointing few Ugandans to positions they can use for self gratification.