Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has called for more cooperation among oil and gas producing African countries. He was this morning addressing the joint oil and gas convention and regional expo at the Kampala Serena Hotel. The President of Equatorial Guinea, Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, also addressed the convention before he concluded his 2-day state visit to Uganda.
“We should emphasize connectivity in the most efficient and logical way in which all our countries benefit. It is not good for every country to become a hub. I do not want Uganda to become the core and other countries to look like branches,” Mr. Museveni said.
President Museveni commended President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo for being a strong pan Africanist who has taken his country from poverty to one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
“It is important to note that the transformation of Equatorial Guinea has been made possible through the proper utilization of their oil and gas,” he observed.
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, on his part, cautioned the Government of Uganda to be careful when negotiating oil and gas deals. He said that whereas oil is a good blessing to nations that discover it, there are times it becomes a curse to the countries.
“Oil can be linked to honey. Honey attracts many bees but some of those bees are the bad ones. Uganda needs to be vigilant to sieve the bad from the good,” he warned.
President Obiang Nguema Masogo revealed that during his country’s quest for oil, a number of oil and gas companies visited Equatorial Guinea with hidden agendas to the extent that they were not willing to share their findings with his government.
“We were told that we had no oil. Oil or petroleum is a very conflicting product in many places and times,” he emphasized.
He reaffirmed his country’s commitment to supporting Uganda in its exploration of the oil and gas industry using the experience of Equatorial Guinea in hydrocarbons and gas.
Mr. Elly Karuhanga the Chairman of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum thanked the Government of Uganda for its commitment to the development of the oil and gas sector.
“The private sector is thrilled by government’s enthusiasm to the oil and gas sector. All laws needed have been made and all officials to man the sector appointed. There is no excuse for the private sector to accuse government of negligence,” he said.
Mr. Karuhanga identified a few remaining challenges that need immediate address by government such as the high cross border levies imposed on Ugandan trucks, short term funding by banks for long term projects and the skilling of Ugandans in the oil and gas sector.