Baz Waiswa

Baz Waiswa

New MoU Boosts Uganda – Russia Nuclear Relations

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Tuesday announced that government of Uganda had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Russian state Atomic Energy Corporation(ROSATOM) on the cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy on June 19th 2017 in Moscow.

This, according to a press statement issued Tuesday afternoon, establishes a framework for coorpeartion with a focus on development of nuclear power infrasturucture in Uganda and the uses of radioisotopes and radiation technologies, applications in industry, medicine, agriculture and other areas.

The MoU will also cover corroboration on Human Resource education and training, nuclear research centers, nuclear energy among others. The Memorandum is the first step towards bilateral cooperation in area of peaceful uses of atomic energy by both countries.

A critical step towards this end is both countries concluding an Intergovenmantal Agreement (IGA). Discussions on the IGA were initiated at the sidelines of the IX International Forum ATOMEXPO-2017. The Agreement will facilitate the two countries in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency guidance.

The MoU was signed by Hon. Eng. Simon D’Ujanga, the Minister of State for Energy, on behalf of the Ugandan Government and Mr. Nikolai Spasskiy, the Deputy Director General of ROSATOM, on behalf of the Russian Government.

The signing ceremony was held in the presence of the Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Uganda in Moscow, Ambassador Rutazindwa Gideon Mwebaze and the ROSATOM Director General Alexey Likhachev.

The signing was also witnessed by Dr. Stepehn Robert Isabalija, the Perment Secretary, Ms. Sarah Nafuna, the Head Nuclear Energy Unit and Mr. Sabbiti Baguma, Tecehnical Staff from the MEMD.

MP Accuses Hoima District Land Board For Fueling Land Conflicts

By George Busiinge

The State Minister for Public Service has blamed the Hoima district land board for fueling land conflicts in Kirogobya County, Hoima district. David Karubanga who is also the Kigorobya county legislator has accused the district land board of engaging in illegal land transactions adding that most illegalities surrounding illegal land titles originate from the district.

Last week, the minister halted Mr. Noah Kasingwa Byekya from surveying a 1294.76 hectare piece of land he claims belongs to him (Byenkya). Byenkya claims to have a land title for the disputed piece of land.

The land covers five villages of Kabatindule, Kabati, Ndarangi, Hanga and Lenju located in the parishes of Kisukuma and Bwikya. Karubanga says he is following up several cases where tycoons have acquired titles through fraudulent means under the recommendations of the district land board.

He accused the land board of conniving with tycoons who are targeting oil benefits not to respect customary land rights. He added that many Ugandan tycoon have invaded the  Albertine  grabben land which has left  many families  homeless.

According to Karubanga, his office is investigating several land related cases where tycoons did not follow the right procedures of land titling saying such land tiles need to be canceled. Bunyoro is experiencing rampant cases of land wrangles, fraudulent sale and acquisition of titles. Last week, Masindi High court issued an interim order refraining land.

boards in the region from transacting land related business until the suit filed by Bunyoro Kitara Reparations Agency-BUKITAREPA is heard. The Agency sued land boards over what they described as continued illegal sell and titling of Bunyoro land which is owned communally.

Minister Warns About Imminent Security Threats That Can Destroy Oil Industry

Uganda’s security minister Lt General Henry Tumukunde wants governments in East Africa and their citizens to devote more time, resources and investment to bolster security installations ahead of an oil and gas boom. The minister was recently speaking at The Joint Oil & Gas Convention & Regional Logistics Expo 2017 in Kampala.

The minister explained that with Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania becoming pronounced gas producers and Uganda and Kenya making giant strides in the oil business plus South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) successes, East Africa will become ‘a center for oil and gas politics and dynamics’ akin to Nigeria, Libya and most recently Syria.

“What continues to shake me, in my own perspective, is how much effort our countries are putting in the subject called security when in four years we expect to have oil and gas as one of your most important resource. I am of the view that it should become a business for the countries and citizens in East Africa to sincerely give time to the role of security in the oil and gas sector.

It is also important that I mention that we have a number of circumstances in this region. We have a weak state in South Sudan and we have got issues in eastern Congo. We have sometimes had unpredictable political situations in some of our neighborhoods - we have the issue of Burundi – and this is accompanied by a broader picture of what is happening in Libya and Syria,” he said.

The minister who participated in the five year guerrilla rebellion that brought President Yoweri Museveni into power 31 years ago and therefore has vast military and security experience having worked in security circles all his adult life predicts that what is happening in Libya and Syria can happen here in Uganda and East Africa as people scramble for oil and gas.

“We have got people (investors – oil companies) who have risky money. They bring their money to your own country. And in our case it’s (oil) in the corner of nowhere, in national parks, where there is political influence from DRC border, where ADF a subunit of Al Qaeda, also related to ISIS operates.

As these people sit with their expensive personnel, with so much equipment and so much risk money, and you know how oil sector is volatile, how prepared are we as a country to host this money, people and oil and activities?” the general expressed his fears.

Uganda is on the verge of constructing a 60, 000 barrels of oil per day refinery in Hoima, a crude export pipeline, a refined products pipeline, a central processing facility among other key infrastructure projects that are key to the oil business but exposed to militarized attacks and other fatal insecurity incidences as it has been the case in Nigeria, Angola, Libya and other unfortunate places.

The minister says the security issue is a big one to be left to only security people. “Make security part of your everyday life,” the minister told close to 1000 delegates who attended the three day summit which aimed at opening up the oil industry to logistics and freight forwarders. 

The minister said some of the perceived security threats that can come up as a result of the oil business are infrastructure damages, cyber-attacks, internal rebellions and uprisings, hostages like how it happens in the Niger Delta in Nigeria, external attacks, economic desperation, and petty crimes among others.

The measures being put in place by the security ministry include striking a partnership with the private sector and interested partners to create awareness, creating cyber security tools, putting in place infrastructure security strategies, focus on intelligence by involving local people, developing a proper security local content policies, economic and social security which he said is often neglected, development of oil wealth redistribution strategy and encouraging development of non-oil sectors.

Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum General Secretary Paul Sherwen said government of Uganda has always provided security courtesy of Uganda People’s Defense Forces to protect ongoing oil activities. “The companies that came here to do oil exploration did it in a safe environment.” He said.

 

Ugandan Travelers Prefer 2 Star Hotels

An annual Hospitality Report released by online booking agency Jumia Travel in Kampala has indicated that 43.8% of Ugandan travelers prefer booking 2 star hotels while 29.2% prefer 3 star, 14.6% prefer 4 star, 8.3% book 1 star and 4.1% rather stay at a 5 star hotel.

“Over the past year, a number of two star hotels started offering additional amenities such as WIFI than before plus their locations are suitable for the travelers especially when it comes to business.” Louis Badea, the Country Manager for Jumia Travel-Uganda.

The trend tends to represent pricing fears hotel users have. Two star hotels are relatively cheaper and affordable by Ugandan standards. Commenting on the pricing issue, Badea encouraged local hotels to be flexible in order to attract business.

The report which provides various data and insights into the tourism sector has Kampala as most searched destination and following right behind is the adventure capital Jinja that boosts of whitewater rafting, bungee jumping on the Nile.

Full report here

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