By George Busiinge
Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom has demanded government to review petroleum laws to allow it have shares in the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC).
The Uganda National Oil Company Limited is a state own company established under section 42 of the petroleum Act 2013. It is the custodian of state’s commercial interests in the oil and gas industry.
Andrew Kirungi Byakutaga, the kingdom’s prime minister wants government to open up by allowing other institutions like Bunyoro Kingdom to buy shares in UNOC for the benefit its people.
“We are going to engage government and parliament more to ensure we get at least 25 percent shares in this company such that the kingdom is financially stable to support its people fight poverty. We ask government to find a way of doing it; either by offering it freely or selling to us,” he said.
Byakutaga made the remarks on Friday while meeting members and board of directors of Uganda National Oil Company at Miika Hotel in Hoima at a one day dialogue on the formalization and role of UNOC in the country.
He added that the legal team is drafting a proposal to tend to government demanding their shareholding in UNOC.
Byakutaga commended government for passing good laws to regulate and manage the oil and gas resource in the country especially the local content policy which he said caters for the local interests in the sector.
He however asked government to be consistent on its production target saying the inconsistencies creates more public anxiety.
Byakutaga further tasked the company and other sister organs like Petroleum Anthority of Uganda, the ministry among others to ensure the 30 percent local content in employment and supplies in the oil and gas is implemented.
He said although government pronounced itself on this, it still remains on paper.
Emmanuel Katongole, the UNOC board chairman said government is committed to ensure that every policy is implemented and respected. He asked local leaders to report any breaches.
Regarding the demand for shares in UNOC, he said section 42 of the petroleum Act 2013 provides that only two ministries of Finance and Energy are the shareholders in the company.
According to him, it will need reviewing the act to ensure other institutions can be accommodated to become shareholders.
“Under this section, the two ministries have 51 and 49 percent shares in the company and for any changes, it will need parliament to review this.” he said
Eng John Bosco Habwomugisha, the UNOC acting Chief Executive Officer commended the people of Bunyoro for proving a conducive environment for government.
He however advised local communities to ensure they form groups, formalize them and register on the petroleum Authority Data base.