Thursday, 26 May 2016

Corruption in Uganda's road sector takes us several steps backwards

A report by a Commission of Inquiry into mismanagement of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) reveals that, before the new management, UNRA had received Shs9 trillion and with this they delivered 1500km of tarmac roads. The report argues that with Shs9 trillion UNRA should have constructed 5,147km. 

UNRA was formed in 2006 to construct, maintain national roads. These mainly include highways in Uganda and they constitute over 20,000km of roads. Of these roads Uganda has only 4,500km paved/tarmac. Road construction in Uganda mainly done by big foreign companies; therefore there is big money involved. In the recent past, the share of the road subsector in the national budget has tremendously increased. This has attracted the attention of the corrupt officials who want to feast on tax payers money.


President Museveni receives a report of a probe into UNRA (New Vision photo)

In the same report it is stated that it is comparatively more expensive to construct 1km of road in Uganda than it is in Rwanda or Ethiopia. The report goes on to say Shs4 trillion was "misused" read stolen by 90 officials in collusion with some staff at UNRA.

So, in 10 years of UNRA's existence, corruption has forced the taxpayers to miss thousands of kilometres of road because some individuals were dishonest! 
According to the report, Shs4 trillion would have made UNRA construct additional 3,647km of paved roads in the country. 

Hello! This is just corruption at "old" UNRA. There are allegations of corruption in other government agencies and departments. All this implies that the cancer of corruption is taking Uganda several steps backwards in terms of development. This must stop.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Uganda: Vote wisely, remain peaceful

As the people of Uganda go to the polls this Thursday 18th February 2016 we have heard a lot from different political candidates at presidential and parliamentary levels. At presidential level there are eight candidates.

But I think these three key contenders have reduced the presidential contest into a three-horse race. Presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi says it’s time for Uganda to go forward; so vote for change and for a peaceful transition.
Mbabazi campaigning in Mukono 


Yoweri Museveni, who is the incumbent, says lots of things have been achieved in the last 30 years like peace, stability and increased kilometres of paved roads, so vote for steady progress to achieve even more.
Museveni campaigns in Zombo


Yet Kizza Besigye, another candidate, says forget the story about going forward and steady progress because as a Ugandan you are powerless. Your voice as a citizen is not listened to by those in public offices. So you got to first reclaim your rights, assert yourselves to the leaders. Besigye says, after asserting yourselves as the citizens, only then can you talk of developing a Uganda that works for Ugandans. He offers to lead this liberation and promises that after winning every Ugandan will walk with their heads high; "walk with swagger (‘swaga’)".
Besigye campaigns in  Rukungiri


Hey, other presidential candidates like Benon Biraro, Abed Bwanika too have fine messages for the Ugandan voters. Therefore you are spoilt for choice.

Now the ball is in your hands. Remember your vote is your voice. Use it wisely. Some people have been approached with gifts like sugar, salt, soap and bits of money or petty cash; please know that your vote is not for sale. Vote for leaders who will work for you.

Most important of all cast your vote in peace. Be peaceful, tolerant and respectful. Let the election not divide us. We are all Ugandans. Uganda continues even after elections. Peace.

#UgandaDecides




Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Uganda: Don't miss the message in opinion polls

Today, The New Vision newspaper has published an opinion poll that gives incumbent President Yoweri Museveni 71% of the total vote if elections were held a few weeks ago. The poll says Dr Kizza Besigye who is competing with Museveni for a fourth time would get 19% followed by Amama Mbabazi, a long time confidant of Museveni now turned political opponent, 6%. Uganda will elect president and members of parliament on February 18.

As usual the NRM supporters are celebrating the poll results as the opposition are dismissing the opinion poll as fabricated and out of anger some opposition faithfuls are burning copies of the New Vision newspaper.


Well, I think this is the trouble we have with the so-called opposition fanatics in this country. Burning a newspaper that publishes an opinion poll is just missing the point. An opinion poll is simply an opinion; scientific study expressed in figures. It conveys a message. Whether accurate or not, the message is clearly put in the people's responses. The task is; if your supporters are according to opinion poll are fewer, simple, just devise measures of increasing them. Address the issues pointed out in the opinion poll. Otherwise, as they always say, figures don't lie.

Being cry babies won't increase your support. I have been to many rural areas in Uganda. The bitter truth is: political opposition candidates are not visible in many places.

Yes, I understand the circumstances and environment in which Uganda's political opposition operate in. But it is self-defeating to think that the level of political awareness and access to information in urban areas is the same as in among rural folks. The opposition politicians are just very thin among the grassroots. So you should be working on entrenching yourselves among the grassroots under the prevailing environment of unleveled electoral ground instead of burning a newspaper that publishes the message in an opinion poll. Surely, you can do better than that instead of living in denial.

Yesterday the Observer newspaper published a story that 91 parliamentary seats (out of more than 405 seats) have no opposition candidates in the forthcoming February 18 elections. In other-words, the ruling NRM party has already 9 MPs in the 10th parliament unopposed even before we go to polls; and is assured of other 82 MP seats being competed for by NRM candidates Vs NRM independent candidates. This is telling a lot about the strength of the political opposition in Uganda. How do you begin dismissing an opinion poll for someone in any of the areas where 91 parliamentary seats are being contested by NRM official candidates and NRM unofficial candidates?

Point is: concentrate on the message in the opinion poll. Besides this is not the first opinion polls giving more or less the same results. So, look for the message in the opinion polls. Burning the messenger is clearly not the best of options you have. It is missing the message in an opinion poll.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Critics of export of health workers to Trinidad are shooting at wrong target

A decision by the Government of Uganda to export healthworkers to Trinidad has sparked intense debate especially from some civil society groups. These groups have criticized the move arguing that Uganda does not have adequate health workers in its hospitals and health centres to afford to give its precious labour to another country.

While it is true that staffing gaps in government hospitals and health centres are widespread, the civil society groups are hitting at a wrong target. This is because any Ugandan is free to work anywhere they feel their labour is better appreciated. Two, the argument that Uganda has not got enough health workers especially the lower cadres like nurses is false. On the contrary there are thousands of health workers who are unemployed and underemployed.

Take as an example, in December 2014 the Ministry of Health through its Health Service Commission advertised for 219 jobs at Mulago Hospital, Uganda Heart Institute, Uganda Cancer Institute, Uganda Blood Transfusion Services and all 13 regional referral hospitals. Over 2000 applicants were shortlisted for job interviews. In one of the vacancies, Mulogo Hospital needed only 12 nursing officers but received 337 applicants. The same hospital needed 30 enrolled nurses but 529 nurses applied. Other advertised posts also attracted massive applications to the extent that the Health Service Commission was left with no choice but to subject the applicants to aptitude tests in Namboole Stadium on March 26th because it could not accommodate such numbers in its board room. Clearly from just this example, there is a huge army of not-fully utilized health workers in Uganda.

Instead these critics should be pressuring government to get serious with recruiting more health workers and improving their conditions of work. I know of over 100 health workers who the Ministry of Health deployed in health facilities in hard-to-reach areas but would go for as many as four months without pay. And when government would attempt to pay them payments would be for arrears of two months. These health workers were depending on their meagre monthly salaries to survive. A good number of them were not salaried, they were receiving Shs320,000 as monthly allowance which would not also be paid in time. In most cases they had to pay house rent.  Yet, these medics were expected to report for day and night duties. Surely, how would such an unmotivated health worker get the motivation to treat a patient as expected? The health worker would be worried of where to get his or her day’s meal instead of attending to a patient. Let alone, what do you expect such a health worker do if they get an opportunity to work abroad?
What we should be doing is to ask government to set its priorities right. Over the years the ministry of health has complained of insufficient budget for recruitment of health workers. The thousands of health centre IIIs and IVs littered across the country don’t have the required staff. No wonder we have had cases where storekeepers and askaris at such facilities also administering medicines to sick peasants!  

The health worker to population ratio in Uganda is 1:1298 compared to the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines of 1:439. Yes, in spite of these challenges, some achievements have made in the health sector. Life expectancy at birth improved from 52 years in 2008 to 54 years in 2011; the maternal mortality ratio reduced from 435 per 100,000 live births in 2006 to 325 per 100,000 live births in 2011; and infant mortality reduced from 76 per 1000 live births in 2006 to 63 per 1000 live births in 2011. But these key indicators can be improved further if the existing heath workers are properly motivated and supervised. Have you ever wondered why some private health facilities which, even in some cases, pay their workers less money than what government pays those in public sector continue to offer relatively better service? Supervision is the trick. 
The Ugandan health sector has experienced challenges related to recruitment and retention of qualified staff; this is mainly due to low remuneration as well as insufficient career opportunities . In 2010 there was a very low doctor to patient ratio of 1:24,725 and a nurse to patient ratio of 1:11,000. Both at an international and regional level, remuneration of health workers in Uganda is much  lower than most other countries. A doctor in Kenya for example earns approximately four times more than their counterpart in Uganda.

In 2013, Uganda recruited over 10,000 health workers to work in health centre III and IVs. But the staff numbers were still below what is required. Mind you, not all the 10,000 recruits remained at work -some who suffered at the hands of bureaucracy have left. The delays in salary pay caused the departure of especially the young people who had just finished school and expected to settle down on their pay. The bureaucracy in paying betrayed the health workers recruitment efforts. Some worked for up to three months without pay and resigned or abandoned work. Few persevered.


The civil society should be asking why the conditions of work for health workers especially those in hard-to-reach and rural areas are not being made better. For me that should the starting point other than trying to frustrate the medics who want to work elsewhere conditions may seem to be better.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Why do Ugandans continue to get sloppy services?

On March 2, I started my day by registering a phone theft complaint at Kiira Road Police Station. I wanted to be served with a police letter that would enable my wife replace the same numbers of her simcards that were stolen together with the phone. It took three hours for the police to give the said letter because the officer in charge of distributing the forms was not yet on duty at 9am. When I got the forms/letter the police stamp was locked in a room that was yet to be opened... 

Later in the day, we went to MTN customer centre on Jinja Road but they claimed the network that would have enabled us get the simcard replacement was off so we were to get the service the next day. We decided to try our luck at MTN customer centre on Shoprite shopping centre on Entebbe road. Here the service was available but the queue of people who wanted to replace their simcards was outrageously long, and inconveniencing. 

The Askaris were busy pushing people away from accessing the inside of the MTN Service Centre office. The centre is also used for mobile money transactions. So there is little space for everyone. Because of this, the customers carrying out mobile money transactions are given the first priority. The guy (s) who handles simcard replacement at this service centre operate in a narrow office space. This leaves the people who want simcard replacement to line up outside the MTN Service Centre (Shoprite) entrance. 

At this entrance there is a mass of youth roaming the place soliciting to replace one's simcard at a cost of between Shs15,000 and Shs40,000 depending on how long one was willing to wait. These cum simcard-replacement brokers have their contacts inside the various telecommunication companies' service centres, whom I think they share the illegal simcard replacement fees with. Officially MTN Uganda charges Shs1500 to replace a lost simcard. Someone who wants to replace their simcard at the official cost has to endure the annoying queues.

Fed up with the hustle and bustle at the MTN customer service centre we decided to first replace the airtel line first. The reason was both telecoms have office space on the same building. The lining up at airtel service centre was organised and done inside their office and there were over 10 workers attending to customers, each line with a maximum of five people. Within 20 minutes were done with simcard replacement at a cost of Shs3000. As for the MTN simcard we were unable to replace it because of the unending queues. 

You might be wondering why is he writing all this. Because it is often said the customer is king. Why do we continue to get sloppy service delivery in this country? Why do we accept this? Even in the private sector where service should delivered in time, things seem not to be working out well. Those who dominate the market are bullying their customers. I refuse this bully. I decide who will make me dip my fingers into my wallet. Why can't MTN decentralise some of these services at least to major suburbs of Kampala city so as to increase efficiency in serving the people of Uganda?

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

COP20 Lays the Groundwork for Paris Climate Pact


By Jennifer Morgan, David Waskow, Yamide Dagnet, Heather McGray, Cynthia Elliott, Athena Ballesteros, James Anderson and Benoit Lefevre (World Resources Institute)



After two weeks of difficult negotiations and a nail-biting finale, delegates in Lima laid the groundwork for a successful international climate agreement in Paris next year. More than a full day after the talks formally ended, delegates sealed the deal on two main tasks at COP20:
  • They decided on a draft text which will be used as a basis for negotiations leading up to the December 2015 Paris summit;
  • They agreed on what information countries must share as they prepare their national climate action plans beyond 2020. Countries are now hard at work figuring out what targets and actions they can share by March or soon after.
The momentum heading into Lima was significant. In September, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets around the world to demand action. Companies and investors declared their commitment to a low-carbon world, while cities showcased their climate leadership on the world stage at the New York Climate Summit. Last month the United States and China – the world’s two largest emitters – broke new ground with an unprecedented agreement to curb their emissions, shortly after the European Union announced its target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. And dozens of countries pledged a total of $10 billion to the Green Climate Fund to help countries prepare for climate impacts and make the transition to a low-carbon economy. These developments set the stage for important outcomes both inside and outside the UN negotiations in Lima.


Leaders from South America (Chile, Colombia, Mexico) played a particularly important role both in their support for the Peruvian presidency but also through specific announcements to take further action.
Here’s a breakdown of the most significant developments at COP20, the 20th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC: highlights from the draft negotiating text; information and assessment of countries’ actions; finance; adaptation and loss and damage; pre-2020 ambition; forests and restoration, and cities.
1. Highlights from the Draft Negotiating Text
The most inspiring development in Lima was an outpouring of support for a long-term effort to reduce emissions. Over 100 countries now advocate for a long-term mitigation goal. This would send a strong signal that the low-carbon economy is inevitable. Support grew for establishing regular cycles to review and strengthen countries’ actions to curb emissions, adapt to climate change and support low-carbon growth. These cycles of improvement are critical to ensure the Paris agreement drives climate action for not years but decades to come.
2. Information and Assessment of Contributions
In Warsaw last year, it was decided that every country should offer an Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs [12], by March 2015, for those in a position to do so. A key issue in Lima was how countries’ proposed contributions will be presented and assessed before Paris. The outcome adopted is a very important step that requires countries to provide significant information when they put forward their proposed contributions, such as key details about the sectors and gases that are covered and methodological and accounting approaches. In addition, countries will have to describe how fair and ambitious their actions will be. WRI’s Building Climate Equity [13] report provides a useful tool to compare different ways of defining equity. This information will help enable comparisons amongst countries’ actions and clarity about how countries’ collective efforts add up to meeting the goal of keeping global mean temperature rise below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F). This is one of the most important parts of the Lima agreement as countries develop and submit their INDCs in March 2015. Although the requirements are not mandatory, they lay the foundation for a transparent post-2020, and will assist in creating peer pressure between countries as they prepare their national contributions. The Lima decision also includes a mandate for the UNFCCC Secretariat to publish an analysis that aggregates all the contributions – providing a benchmark for how they add up, or not, to staying below 2 degrees C.
Unfortunately, the agreement failed to create a forum for countries to present and discuss their contributions. This is a missed opportunity for a constructive discussion to build understanding and confidence. WRI will be providing analysis about country contributions [14]. This decision could have also included an opportunity for the public to comment on national contributions, but that proposal did not survive the negotiations.
These issues could be included in the Paris agreement itself and will likely be key topic for negotiation in 2015. It will be vital to have a more robust assessment phase to view and ramp up ambition.
3. Finance
The Lima talks were buoyed from the start by major contributions to the Green Climate Fund [15] in the weeks before COP20. With additional contributions in the second week of the negotiations, the fund crossed the $10 billion mark. This was an important milestone to both demonstrate the confidence of donor countries in the GCF and build trust with developing countries that the funds would flow. A total of 27 countries pledged contributions, including five developing countries – Peru, Columbia, Mexico, South Korea and Mongolia. These resources offer a strong foundation for the Green Climate Fund to start committing resources to urgent priorities on the ground, from building climate resilience to helping foster low-carbon economies and technologies.
Inside the negotiations, progress was slow on how to further fund climate action, but there was an agreement around the elements of a negotiating text that will form the basis of next year’s Paris Agreement, including crafting a post-2020 regime on finance. More work is needed to outline how developed countries can fulfill their 2010 commitment to mobilize at least $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020. This is key to building trust in negotiations and securing broad support by all countries for low-carbon and climate-resilient transformation.
Outside the negotiating rooms, a number of important announcements and discussions spurred momentum. The International Development Finance Club announced that it committed $89 billion to climate finance [16] in 2013 -- almost four times what the multilateral development banks (MDBs) provided.
Much more progress on finance is required to secure a global agreement in Paris. While the basic elements of a draft negotiating text are in place, negotiators will need to work hard over the next year to decide on what the Paris Agreement will specify about sources, channels, allocation, and levels of climate finance in the post-2020 world. Negotiators will need to find a balance between what they desire and what is feasible. Collaboration and compromise will be essential to mobilize more climate finance and galvanize a shift of trillions of dollars from high-carbon to low-carbon economic growth.
4. Adaptation to Climate Impacts
The Lima conference arguably saw more serious attention to adaptation than any previous conference of the parties to the UNFCCC. Developing countries pushed for adaptation to get equal billing with mitigation in the Paris agreement, raising its profile to new heights. The strong interest in adaptation in Lima – where adaptation negotiating sessions were standing-room-only – is undoubtedly connected with the urgent need to respond to severe climate impacts countries are already facing, from record-breaking floods and scorching heat waves to a steady increase in sea level rise.
A hard-fought decision in Lima was whether to include adaptation and mitigation in countries’ national contributions. Some developed countries wanted to limit national contributions to mitigation only, but developing countries argued that their efforts to build resilience to climate impacts should be recognized. In the end, countries decided that adaptation can be included but offered limited guidance on what information should be provided on adaptation efforts. How these contributions might be assessed remains unclear. However, negotiators did achieve clarity in two areas: They agreed to improve the process of how national adaptation planning is reported and they affirmed a work plan to focus on the issue of loss and damage -- how to address the consequences of climate change that cannot be fully addressed through adaptation (i.e. the submergence of islands in sea water, the loss of crop varieties in a region, etc.). Over the next two years, countries will map out loss and damage activities and needs, develop analytic tools and share best practices. Between now and the Paris meeting, negotiators will aim to accelerate efforts on adaptation and loss and damage by determining how to:
  • unpack a global adaptation goal in the Paris agreement;
  • structure a continuous improvement cycle for adaptation that builds on national adaptation planning and contributions;
  • secure the foundations to address the loss and damages that occur when adaptation and mitigation fail to prevent climate change impacts;
  • ensure that developing countries have enough resources to build resilience to climate impacts.
Loss and damage is a fundamental issue for many delegations, and in a final intervention, Tuvalu made a particular case for it to be included directly in the Agreement in Paris.
5. Pre-2020 Ambition
Beyond the issue of the post-2020 agreement, in Lima there was a big focus on what additional actions countries could take now to seize opportunities to cut emissions further and faster. An entire track of negotiations was dedicated to advancing this important issue.
Over the last year, a series of technical expert meetings brought to light promising ways countries can shift to low-carbon economies. In Lima, the UNFCCC established a process to use what they learned to spur more ambitious short-term climate action.
Countries decided to continue to share their experiences to curb emissions, identify the best policy options to achieve the highest mitigation potential and continue technical expert meetings about action through 2020. The Lima Climate Action High Level Meeting highlighted the actions of the private sector, pension funds, cities and indigenous peoples and started the tradition of having a high level forum every year. With this new forum, on-the-ground progress will fuel the climate talks for years to come.
6. Forests and Restoration
Last year, REDD+ [17] made so much progress [18] -- on financing, transparency and safeguards, and monitoring and verification -- that there wasn’t much left to do at this climate meeting. One of the few REDD+ topics discussed in Lima was further clarifying safeguards. Countries ultimately decided not to elaborate more on this point. While some countries found this disappointing, others interpreted this to mean that countries can decide for themselves how to report on safeguards.
In addition, Brazil, followed by Indonesia, Colombia, Guyana, Malaysia and Mexico, took the next step of submitting their reference levels [19] to benchmark their emissions from deforestation, paving the way to start receiving performance-based payments for forest conservation and restoration.
Just as notable were innovations showcased outside the official COP at the Global Landscapes Forum [20]. By far the biggest development was the launch ofInitiative 20x20 [21], a Latin American country-led initiative to restore 20 million hectares of degraded land [22] – an area larger than Uruguay. Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Costa Rica and two regional programs announced [23] ambitious plans to reforest areas to help capture carbon, enhance biodiversity, improve livelihoods, and make agricultural lands more productive. Five impact investment firms joined the effort by committing $365 million in activities to recover cloud forests, avoid deforestation, boost climate-resilient sustainable agriculture and more.
New advances in satellite forest monitoring and carbon mapping were unveiled at Lima [24], along with a new partnership between Global Forest Watch [25] with the Peruvian Forests and Wildlife Resources Control Agency (OSINFOR) to share data and expanded monitoring [26] of Peru’s extensive forests.
7. Cities
On December 8, mayors and experts converged on the historic City Hall of Lima to share experiences and advance local climate action. Over the course of that day, participating cities – including Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Paris, Mexico City and many others – highlighted best practices, committed to step up efforts to curb emissions and called for greater ambition at the international level.
The most significant outcome for cities in Lima was the launch of the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) [27]which was developed in partnership by WRI, C40 and ICLEI. The first step to take action on city emissions is to identify and measure where they come from, but that has proved challenging without a consistent way to measure city-level emissions. The GPC resolves that problem [28], offering the first global emissions standard for cities to consistently track their performance and set credible emissions reduction targets.
A Global Climate Agreement Within Reach
Though much hard work remains, the Lima climate summit brings a global climate agreement in Paris within reach.
As delegates and stakeholders head home and begin to envision a positive outcome for Paris, we encourage them to closely analyze the comprehensive proposal,Elements and Ideas for the 2015 Paris Agreement [29]. Published in Lima by ACT 2015, a global consortium of think tanks, the Agreement on Climate Transformation 2015 [30] (ACT2015) recommends long-term goals on mitigation and adaptation and five-year cycles for assessing countries’ actions. Informed by hundreds of negotiators, government representatives and stakeholders around the world, the proposal offers a realistic pathway to securing an agreement that can stand the test of time and help make the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient future. We believe that this paper could help negotiators and the wider international community to navigate through the various options available into the current draft negotiating text and help them not lose sight of what critical functions the Paris agreement should fulfill.

more at http://www.wri.org/blog/2014/12/cop20-lays-groundwork-paris-climate-pact-7-key-developments

Friday, 22 August 2014

How are we managing expectations from Uganda’s oil discovery?

Oil discovery in Uganda has generated a lot of excitement in the population. I have heard stories of some people in the oil corridor of Bunyoro pausing to work hard to give their life a better meaning waiting on the proceeds from extraction of oil and gas. Some young men have sold land to scavenging land dealers in order to migrate to “oil towns”. Farmers are equally excited that their tomatoes will get market from workers in oil exploration and drilling companies.

The politicians are telling Ugandans that they found the oil during their reign so they deserve another term in office. The businessmen and women are also positioning themselves to tap into the oil money. The youth believe oil and gas sector is the answer to their unemployment woes. The policy makers are exciting the country that oil is the game changer in Uganda’s economic development. Cultural leaders are also clamouring for oil royalties. And, so on and so forth.

Naturally it is okay for people to have expectations whenever a natural resource like oil is discovered. It is not surprising that there is so much excitement over Uganda’s discovery of 3.5billion barrels of oil. But, what are the facts? How are we managing expectations?

Not all this oil will be extracted from the ground. In fact, about 1.7 billion barrels will be recoverable because oil is mined from rocky ground. The commercially viable oil discovered is much lower than over 35billion barrels in Nigeria, for example. However, Uganda has so far explored only 40% of its oil resources.

If managed well, oil and gas extraction in Uganda has the potential to improve Uganda’s economic development. At least annual revenue of $2billion is expected when oil production begins. Oil production in Uganda is estimated to last for a minimum of 30 years. This implies that about $60billion will be harvested from oil production. That money is huge. Currently Uganda’s total GDP is $21billion.

Even before the oil production begins, Uganda has so far made a kill on the capital gains tax resulting from the sale of oil wells by Heritage to Tullow and the farmdown of Tullow, China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) and Total.

The elephant in the room, however, lies with the choices Uganda government will make regarding the use of the revenue from oil and gas. Will this money be used well or not? As it is now, the national oil policy states that its objective is eradicate poverty and create useful value from the oil resource. President Museveni has indicated that oil revenues will be used to develop infrastructure like roads and generate electricity. It is envisaged that good infrastructure like roads will enable farmers and investors do their business better.

It is upon the leaders to explain how someone in the rural area in Bulisa, and other parts of the country, will benefit from the oil revenues. Some rural folks think they will touch the oil cash. It is this complex process that needs to be made clear to ordinary citizens.

Because Oil and Gas production in Uganda will define the lives of Ugandans in 30 to 50 years, all must be interested in what’s happening in the sector.  It is also vital that we have realistic expectations regarding oil industry in the country.

For example, the much talked about oil sector jobs are not very many. Research by oil companies in Uganda shows that: direct jobs at peak time (when oil production will begin) are between 3000 and 13000 while indirect and induced jobs (investment, buying cars, etc) are expected to be between 100,000 and 150,000. Most of these jobs are seasonal. At the same time there are still huge gaps in local Ugandans who can work or supply in technical areas of oil industry.

My future blogs will expound on these issues.