By Peter Abaanabasazi
The Uganda National Oil Company-UNOC has urged Ugandan investors to prepare and take advantage of opportunities in the oil and gas industry.
UNOC is a state own company established under section 42 of the petroleum Act 2013 mandated to handle the State’s commercial interests in the oil and gas sector and ensure that the resource is exploited in a sustainable manner.
While addressing members and board of directors from UNOC in Bunyoro Kitara kingdom officials during one day dialogue meeting on formalization and role of UNOC in the country on Friday, Peter Mulisa, the UNOC Chief Legal and Cooperate Affairs Officer said the law and regulations had ring-fenced certain areas of business for Ugandans.
He noted opportunities such as food supplies, supplying materials such as cement, steel, providing security services, employment opportunities and consulting. Others are training, ICT, administration, transport and logistics among others are there for Ugandan.
He added that they can only look for outside suppliers after Ugandans have failed to supply and challenged the Bunyoro Kingdom and other leaders to mobilize their people to prepare for these opportunities.
He noted that there were opportunities for Ugandans to participate in business during the building of the oil pipeline, refinery, and construction of oil fields. He urged Ugandans to read the laws and regulations on local content.
“Know your rights and claim for the same. We want to ensure direct and indirect participation of Ugandans in the industry. Know the standards required to supply goods and services,” Mulisa said.
He said for a company to supply the industry, the company must first register in the national supplier database in the Petroleum Authority of Uganda.
Speaking the same meeting, Andrew Byakutaga, the Bunyoro Kitara kingdom prime minister demanded government to consider their institution and have shares in the Uganda National Oil Company.
He explained that government should open up by allowing other institutions like Bunyoro Kingdom to buy shares in the company for the benefit its people.
“We are going to engage government and parliament more so that we can be allowed to have a certain percentage of shares in UNOC such that the kingdom is financially stable to support its people in fight against poverty.
The current laws only allow ministries of Energy to have 51% and Ministry Finance 49% shares.
Byakutaga said that since Bunyoro is host community of oil and gas, the institution can be given an opportunity be shareholder in Company.
“We are asking government to find a way considering us either by offering it freely or selling to us because as host community we are supposed to be treated differently from others,” he said.
Byakutaga also demanded government to share information with the kingdom about when the real business of oil gas is expected to kick off so that they prepare their subjects.
He noted that government has continued to encourage Ugandan to get prepared for oil Opportunities adding that people have invested their money in several business such housing, hotels, security but their investments are idle because what they expected have failed to mature, hence people are losing money and interest in oil industry.
Reacting on kingdom’s demands, Emmanuel Katongole, the UNOC Board said that section 42 of the petroleum Act 2013 only allows ministries of Energy to have 51% and Ministry Finance 49% shares.
He noted that it will need a reviewing of act to ensure other institutions can be accommodated to become shareholders.
Katongole said activities in the industry are now moving from exploration phase to the production phase of oil.
Recently, government assured Ugandans that the first oil is expected out of the ground and out of the refinery in 2020, but there is no infrastructure to guarantee government statements.