Is Government Failing To Manage Ugandans’ Expectations From The Oil Resource?

Two years after announcing the discovery of commercial Oil Reserves in Uganda in 2006, the Government of Uganda came up with the National Oil and Gas Policy of 2008 through which it sought to utilize the newly found Oil resources to contribute to early achievement of poverty eradication and create lasting value to society.  

Oil raised the expectations of so many Ugandans as they started envisioning the petro-dollars that would flow into the country to fix the financial gaps that the country had been grappling with for generations.  Government’s remedy for managing these expectations was to have constructive dialogue with all the stakeholders in order to reduce anxieties arising from the expectations.

Ten years down the road, more oil deposits have been discovered and the recoverable oil now stands 1.5 billion barrels. Giant Oil Companies like Total, CNOOC and Tullow Oil entered into Uganda and have made huge investments in Uganda’s Oil Sector. Government has already reaped around USD $ 300,000 from Signature Bonuses and millions of dollars from taxes arising out of Tullow’s acquisition of Heritage’s interests in Uganda, and Tullow Oil’s farm down to CNOOC and Total.

Government’s potential share of the oil resource after oil companies have recouped their costs stands at a whopping US $50 billion and Government has already indicated it to Ugandans that Uganda will reach the Middle Income Status in the next decade.

However, from public opinions, Ugandans’ expectations from the Oil seem to be dwindling every other passing day.  A decade after discovery, the oil is yet to be drilled from the ground, the Oil refinery has not yet been set up and the pipeline to transport the crude oil is yet to be built. Earthfind’s Sam Jumbwike engaged a number of Ugandans about and they shared about their expectations from the Oil.

Mariat Nasasira-Radio Presenter, Galaxy FM

 

The truth is that I stopped expecting anything from this Government. I have zero hope in our Oil. Under different circumstances or different Government I would expect to see an improvement in infrastructure, better roads and hospitals, more jobs, reduced fuel prices and gas prices for those of us who use it to cook. And of course a reduction in the country's dependence on foreign donors. Unfortunately with the kind of corruption and poor governance in place, that seems like just a dream.

Maureen Kyalya Waluube- Former Presidential Candidate 2016

I expect nothing from the Oil as long as we still have NRM in Uganda. All profits are going to build Rwanda not Uganda

Fred Musisi Munagomba- Director, Creative Options

 

Actually, I don’t expect anything good to come out of the Oil resource because I don't trust the leadership. The oil money will be stolen and nobody will be apprehended.

Mutebe Henry-Ugandan Student in Norway

I want to be optimistic. I am hopeful that the oil money will change fortunes for Ugandans but this can only be achieved by more increased transparency, accountability and sound investment of the oil money. Countries that have done well like Norway invest about 60% of their oil money into equities in well developed markets like the US, UK/euro area, Germany, Japan among others. I would be very proud if our country had shares in companies like Apple, Microsoft and Nestle.

 

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