Museveni Defends Government Position On Oil Before Parliament

2138 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday addressed parliament on the oil sector and reminded members of parliament that his government is doing what is best for the sector.

President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday addressed parliament on the oil sector and reminded members of parliament that his government is doing what is best for the sector.

In reference to the just concluded petroleum exploration, development and production bill, Museveni said that the individuals who derailed it were working on behalf of foreign interests to cripple the development of the oil sector.

He said that Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo and his team under the parliamentary forum for oil and gas shouldn’t have caused a fuss on clause nine of the bill because the minister wouldn’t work alone. He added that the minister works with the expert scientists in the sector that his government trained when oil was discovered in the 1980’s.

He says his party knows what to do as far as the oil sector is concerned because they were able to avoid most of the mistakes made by some oil producing companies and the battle that his government has fought is to defend the interests of Ugandans.

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He said Uganda now has 55 petroleum scientists and 17 petroleum technicians and will have more experts from Kigumba institute which has already produced 30 graduate technicians with others still under training.

He said the NRM government negotiated the best Production Sharing Agreements (PSA) and that Uganda was able to avoid the low share even before it was confirmed that there was oil in commercial quantities.

He said that Uganda was able to get a share of 70 percent of the oil produced adding that  that Uganda’s terms compare very well with other countries like Angola, Indonesia, Thailand, Gabon and Vietnam.

He said that the PSA’s will even be better later now that it is confirmed Uganda has the oil. And that because of these trained scientists; Uganda avoided a mistake of depending on foreigners to discover oil. He said that oil was discovered by Ugandans and therefore Uganda was not cheated by foreign oil companies.

He added that Uganda also did not make a mistake of declaring gas like other African oil producing countries yet gas is valuable. He argued that associated gas can be used to generate electricity , to make fertilisers and for cooking.

The other mistake that Museveni says his experts in the ministry avoided was to accept the confusion about exporting crude oil.

He told Mps that Uganda must have a refinery because it needs the jobs that come with refining and the bi-products.

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 He said Uganda would lose 40 dollars on each barrel if it accepted to export crude oil on exportation and re-importation of the refined product since it has no access to the coastline. He asked Bungokho south MP Michael Werihke and his committee-the natural resources committee to do research about how many refineries are in Africa and justify the number.

Museveni said it was because of those scientists that Uganda was able to avoid these common mistakes. He added that for Sekikubo and his group to malign the great work of the experts in the ministry of energy is unforgivable and asked them to recognise that God gives different gifts to different people so they should acknowledge that those scientists are better than them in that sector.

Museveni’s address to the MPs follows that standoff that has existed between parliament and the executive over the just passed oil bill. Contention was on clause nine of the bill with parliament saying that the bill gives a lot of powers to the minister and should be amended while the executive argued that the roles are too critical to be performed by the petroleum authority.