By Our Energy Reporters
The oil and gas sector is a high value industry that is projected to fetch the country over 3bn US dollars annually once the oil production commences in the Albertine region, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development-Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa has stated .
The amounts expected from the oil production are just short of 1bn US dollars short of equaling Uganda’s total tax collections which stand at 4 bn US dollars annually .
Given the importance and high value the industry will contribute for Uganda’s economic growth and national development ,Hon. Nankabirwa urged the new members on the Parliamentary Budget Committee and the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources , to fully appreciate the sector’s operations through reading the industry information and having continuous engagements with the industry players because it is a “very technical industry.”
Both the Budget Committee and the Committee On Environment and Natural Resources offer oversight to the oil and gas sector.
“It is equally important to have harmony and synergies across the entire government to understand the strategic direction of this sector so that we speak with one voice,” Nankabirwa told the MPs. The minister was closing a two day zoom workshop for the MPs – which focused on the sustainable development of Uganda’s oil and gas resources.
The MPs were led by the Chairmen of the Parliamentary Committes on Budget , Environment and Natural Resources -Mr. Opolot Isiagi Patrick and Dr. Emmanuel Otiam Otaala , respectively .
The Ministry of Energy was represented by the two State Ministers , Hon.Peter Lokeris for Mineral Development and Hon. Sidronius Okasai Opolot in charge of Energy .
The tecnocrats who made presentations were led by the Ministry of Energy Permanent secretary , Eng. Irene Beteebe, the director Petroleum, Mr. Honey Malinga , Petroleum Coordinator , francis Elungat and Solomon Muyita the Principal Communications officer.
Hon Nankabirwa further called upon the MPs to study and understand the depth of some of the companies operating in oil and gas sector-because most of the firms are listed companies on the World Stock Exchange and are regulated internationally.
“ One incorrect or alarming statement can grossly affect their international reputation and stock exchange value of the listed companies, which may, in the end, affect the value that we derive from these companies as a country. This calls for due regard by the legislators when we are interacting or commenting with sector players,” she noted .
She also implored the honourable members to carefully listen to the concerns of the people and seek genuine accountability from the ministry leadership to ensure that the sector/project benefits all Uganda.
The Minister called fo parliament’s support in the provision of budgets and enactment of the necessary legislation for the energy sector .
Hon Dr Emmanuel Otiam Otala, outlined the oversight roes of the committees of parliament and reminded the ministry officials that ppublic resources should be held and utilized in a transparent, accountable, efficient, effective and sustainable manner by sector MDAs.
“Information should be provided to parliament in a timely and transparent manner and there should be consistency between plans of MDAs and other development frameworks such as NDP III and Sector Investment Plans.
MDA should endeavour to adhere to the provisions of the Law e.g. budgets should align with NDP III, should adhere to Gender Equity requirements in the PFMA,” Dr. Otala stressed.
The PS Eng. Irene Bateebe outlined the policy ,legal ,regulatory institutional framework for the sector .She also gave an overview of the sector and said that 995 of the people displaced by the oil production facilities have been compensated by government .
Eng. Bateebe said that preparations for the construction of the 1,443 kilometres, longest heated pipeline, 296km in Uganda covering 10 districts and compensation of 3,792 project Affected Persons (PAPs) are on-going .
“Uganda’s oil and gas sector progressed to development in preparation for first oil in 2025 and National Content Development is key to ensure maximum benefits to citizens,” the PS concluded.
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