Uganda’s new Minister for Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD)  Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa has vowed to work towards the fulfilment of the manifesto of the energy sector -focusing mainly  on the smooth implementation of  the oil and gas production  agreements as well as lowering the electricity tariffs to facilitate industrialization .

Hon.Nankabirwa has since asked the ministry’s technical team led by Permanent Secretary  Mr. Robert Kasande  to work towards general reduction of power tariffs to boost industrialization and have as many Ugandans connected to the national grid as possible.  “With increased power generation the tariffs should go down and make electricity affordable  for the people of  Uganda, “Nankabirwa stated .

She was taking over the Ministry’s political leadership from the out going Minister Hon. Mary Gorreti Kitutu. Those who attended the scientific handover that was also attended virtually included; the Permanent Secretary, Robert Kasande; the Under Secretary and Accounting Officer Mugunga Emmanuel Freddie; the Ag. Director Petroleum, Mr Honey Malinga; the Ag. Director Geological Surveys and Mines Agnes Alaba; The Executive Director Petroleum Authority of Uganda, Ernest Rubondo; the CEO Electricity Regulatory Authority, Eng Ziria Waako and Mr.Mwesigwa the ED of Uganda Electricity Distribution Company.

The Minister further requested the technical team to come up with a program for inducting the new ministers and  emphasized team work  if the Ministry is to deliver on its mandate . She will be working with Mr. Okaasai Sidronius Opolot, the Minister of State for Energy and Mr. Peter Lokeris the state Minister for Minerals.

What the technocrats say

The  PS Mr. Robert Kasande says that the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has put in place strong  policies and a legal framework that is geared at ensuring national local content participation  for Ugandans as the  country enters the oil production phase .

According to Kasande, with the oil and gas sector moving into the development and production phases for commercial quantities of oil in the Lake Albert basin – there will be many jobs created in the areas of  engineering, service sub sectors such as construction, transport , food for the different  infrastructure development  that is required for the production and commercialization of  Uganda’s  crude oil.

 Kasande says that the  national participation of Ugandans will be maximized through three main ways including “provision of goods and services by Ugandans, employment and training of Ugandans and technology transfer to Ugandans.

“ Ugandan entrepreneurs will be given chance to provide goods and services to be used during the production and commercialization of the crude oil in the Lake Albert basin. Section 53 and 125 of the upstream and midstream Acts states that the licensee, their contractors and subcontractors are required to give priority to goods and services provided by Ugandan citizens and registered entities owned by Ugandans,”the PS stated .

The regulations that have been developed by government through the Energy Ministry have  ring-fenced a number goods and services that can only be provided by Ugandan citizens and Ugandan companies. Among these include; transportation, security, foods and beverages, hotel accommodation and catering , human resource management, office supplies ,fuel supply, land surveying, clearing and forwarding, locally available construction materials , civil works, environment studies and impact assessment, communication and information technology service, waste management and crane hire.

The policies also state that there will be provision of employment and training to Ugandans. Sections 54 and 126 of the Upstream and Midstream Acts provide for “training, recruitment and employment of Ugandans in all phases of petroleum activities taking into account gender, equity, persons with disabilities and host communities.”

Kasande explained that the regulations require that Ugandan citizens are given priority for employment in any petroleum activity executed by any licensee.

Who is Nankabirwa

Nankabirwa holds a Masters degree in Conflict Studies.

Over the years, Nankabirwa is and has been a very strong supporter of the ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM) party. She has been appointed and served in various positions in the cabinet of Uganda.

She became a member of parliament for Kiboga district in 1996. Between 1998 and 2001 she worked in the prime minister’s office, before being appointed Minister of Defense, a position she held until 2009.

Nankabirwa was then appointed as the state minister for Microfinance until 2011 when she was appointed as the state minister for fisheries. In 2015 she was appointed NRM Party and  government’s chief whip.

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