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Uganda still committed to building first oil
refinery says President Yoweri Museveni

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday said the country is committed to building its first oil refinery in the western territory.

Museveni made the remarks during a meeting with the delegation of Albertine Graben Refinery Consortium (AGRC), said the east African country’s State House in a statement.

The president told the AGRC, a joint venture of the Uganda National Oil Company and four Italian and Mauritian companies, that the government is working on the start of oil production, and will use the oil revenue to build national capacity.

The government is also engaging with oil companies over the planned construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline between the oil wells in Albertine Graben, western Uganda, and the Tanzania seaport of Tanga, Museveni said.

Uganda expects to start commercial production of oil by 2022.

The country has over 6.5 billion barrels of oil reserves, showed the figures of Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.

Three international companies, namely China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Total, and Tullow have an equal stake in Uganda’s so far discovered oil wells in Albertine Graben.


Uganda urges local companies to prepare for oil and gas projects

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda has urged local construction companies to build capacity in a bid to reap from the 15-20 billion U.S. dollars investment that will be generated by the development of the oil and gas sector over the next three years.

Monica Azuba Ntege, minister of works and transport, in a statement issued here on Monday by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), said engineers should be prepared to tap into the upcoming construction phase by international oil companies.

The minister said civil works and provision of available construction materials are ring-fenced for Ugandans.

She was speaking at a meeting called to sensitize engineers and building contractors about the opportunities in the oil and gas sector.

The meeting organized by PAU in partnership with other government agencies, was part of efforts to prepare local firms for the development phase of the oil and gas sector with planned construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), oil refinery, among others. EACOP will run from the oil fields in western Uganda to the Tanzanian seaport of Tanga.

Ntege urged professionals, contractors, manufacturers and suppliers with the necessary competencies and capacity to extend their sphere of influence and explore the opportunities.

Ernest Rubondo, Executive Director of PAU, said experience from oil producing countries across the world shows that for the oil and gas sector to spur inclusive growth, deliberate efforts have to be made to enable the benefits from the sector reach the wider population.

Rubondo said this can only be achieved through growing the participation of Ugandans and Ugandan entities in the provision of goods and services to the sector.

"The construction and engineering subsector of the economy is one of the areas which has a very significant potential to benefit from the development of the country’s oil and gas sector.

This is especially so because the construction and engineering subsector provides opportunities for high value participation of Uganda entities," he said.

He said potential local suppliers will be empowered with knowledge on the construction and engineering requirements for the oil and gas sector in terms of quantities, scope, timelines and standards.

Robert Kasande, permanent secretary ministry of energy and mineral development, said local companies need to comply with the required standards or risk missing out on the opportunities once the Final Investment Decision (FID) is taken. FID is the detailed plan which an oil company will follow to develop an oil field.

"FID will surely be taken. It may be tomorrow or the other day but whatever time it comes, we should prepare and ensure that whatever you take from here, you put into practice.

That way, when time for bidding comes, you are ready to participate," Kasande said.

Andrew Kasekende, a Director at ICS Engineering and Environment Limited, which is working with United Kingdom-based Worley on the Resettlement Action Plan for the EACOP, said there are several challenges that hinder local companies from getting contracts.

"From experience, the major challenges faced by local companies are lack of awareness of oil and gas standards, high cost of capital, and business uncertainty after investment," he said.

Brian Tahinduka, an official from Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited, said the bank is ready to fund up to 54 million dollars for a single project.

"As long as you have the capacity and capability, we have the money.

"We are the only institution with a unique triple A rated mark in Africa for such huge projects," he said.

Uganda expects to start commercial production of oil by 2022. Ministry of energy and mineral development figures show that the country has so far discovered over 6.5 billion barrels of oil.

Three international companies, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, Total and Tullow have an equal stake in Uganda’s so far discovered oil wells in the Albertine Graben, in the western part of the country.

Experts urge Uganda on human capital as formulation of development plan starts

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- As Uganda embarks on formulation of its third five-year National Development Plan (NDP), experts meeting here have urged the government to focus on human capital development.

A joint statement issued on Friday by the National Planning Authority (NPA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) said the experts urged the government to invest more in its people starting at an early age and pay more attention to issues affecting their health and education.

Critical groups such as the youth, elderly and persons with disabilities are also important if the country is to achieve meaningful and sustainable inclusive growth.

"Government of Uganda demonstrates acknowledgement that investing in people is not only critical, but necessary to ensure sustained inclusive growth," said Elsie Attafuah, UNDP Resident Representative.

Joseph Muvawala, executive director of NPA said the country’s abundant labor needs to be equipped with globally competitive skills, relevant knowledge, good health and positive attitudes.

Diana Sekaggya Bagarukayo, education specialist at the World Bank said the country needs to increase expenditure on education annually to improve learning, enrollment and completion rates. She said in comparison, other sub-Saharan countries spend 16 percent of their national budget on education, compared to the nation’s 10 percent.

Juma Waswa Balunywa, Principal of Makerere University Business School, warned that the job market demands are changing very fast hence the need for a forecast of jobs and skills that will be relevant for the future and ensuring that the education curriculum and learning institutions are training for that.

The experts were meeting on Thursday at the first breakfast policy series aimed at providing a multi-stakeholder platform to deliberate and build consensus around the strategic issues relevant to the NDPIII formulation process.

The current NDPII expires at the end of June 2020 and the next Development Plan (NDPIII) should be in place by September 2019 to guide the budget strategy for the financial year 2020/21.



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