Uganda Peoples Congress
Uganda Peoples Congress
Plot 8-10 Kampala Road, Uganda House,
P. O. Box 9206, Kampala
Time to Open the Oil Debate
(Embargoed for release at 11.00 am 8th August 2007)
- The Uganda Peoples Congress expressed its concerns on the political and economic management of oil resources on the 12th July 2006.
- The UPC was and is still concerned about the oil exploration and the production sharing agreement that the government entered into with various oil prospecting companies.
- It was our recommendation that a Uganda Petroleum Commission be established to :
- Study how oil is managed in other oil producing countries and recommend policies to the government.
- Engage all citizens in open and constructive debate pertaining to the exploration and management of oil revenues.
- Engage NEMA and other environmental bodies to study the environmental impact of the oil exploration and avoid environmental disasters being experienced by other oil producing countries.
- The NRM government has so far not heeded our advice. This intransigency is beginning to yield adverse consequences both internally and externally.
- Internally, the people within the affected districts are continuing to agitate for a negotiated share of the prospective oil wealth in the face of uncaring and unresponsive government. The people in these areas have been tempted to resort to violence in order to settle land disputes especially with persons outside the District and they believe that these "intruders" are facilitated by the government as an advance team to occupy and exploit the oil rich land.
- The prospecting for oil has landed the country into an international conflict with Democratic Republic of Congo which has led to a bloody confrontation where lives have been lost. President Museveni has been reported to have entered into a joint oil venture with Malaysian Prime Minister without any policy and legislative frame work guiding him in terms of contractual obligations.
- The government as reported in the New Vision of 8th August 2007 claims that they have a draft oil policy in the offing and that the policy addresses several stages of exploration and managing oil resources. This raises several questions:
- Where is the draft oil policy if it exists? UPC challenges the government to produce the draft policy.
- What policy guidelines are President Museveni and his government currently following in explorations and managing of oil resources? Who has been issuing licenses to the prospecting companies?
- What is the legal status of the current oil exploration companies?
- As long as there are no openly debated policies and legislations regarding the prospecting for oil production, marketing of oil and the sharing of oil revenues, there is bound to be economic, social and political conflict resulting from the scramble for oil contracts. These tensions and conflicts will not only engulf Uganda and prospecting companies who have signed oil exploration without a proper legal framework in place but will spill over the countries that neighbor and share the oil belt.
- The UPC warns that, if the stakeholders in Uganda are not involved in formulating the policies and legislations which involves the people of Uganda in the management of oil resources is then, the symbolic national prayers meant to thank God for the gift of oil resources and which are intended to be an annual event will turn out prayers to mourn the disasters that oil would have brought to our motherland.
- The Uganda Peoples Congress calls upon the people of Uganda to join it in its demand for an open and publicly debated oil resources policy and legislations that will lead to the formation of an inclusive Uganda Petroleum Commission to manage our oil resources for all the people of Uganda and posterity.
For God and my Country
Mama Miria Kalule Obote
President, Uganda Peoples Congress