Some members of Parliament have expressed doubt about Uganda's ability to reap from the ongoing development of the oil and gas sector.
The legislators expressed fear that most of the oil revenues could be taken by international oil companies currently licensed to produce oil in the Albertine Graben.
They were reacting to a statement by Energy and Mineral Development Minister, Irene Muloni briefing parliament about the state of preparedness in sector and whether Uganda can achieve first oil by 2020.
The Minister's statement highlighted the Field Development Plans (FDPs) for the three discoveries in Jobi-East, Mpyo and Lyec. She said there are being discussed between the Government and the Licensees for the issuance of additional Production Licenses. Currently Total, Tullow Uganda and China's CNOOC have field development plans in the three areas.
Muloni told Parliament that in order to realize the timeline for 1st Oil of 2020, her ministry is working with other Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to address the requirements and challenges in areas like infrastructure and Logistics, Land Acquisition, Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), Lake Albert Water Extraction permits and local Content Development.
She said cabinet approved funding amounting to USD 531 million to be availed over two financial years for the oil road and bridges.
Buliisa County MP, Stephen Mukitale Birahwa said the country has spent over USD 3.6 billion on oil explorations without Parliamentary approval.
He added that the government is also about to commit the county to another USD 25 billion without Parliamentary approval in violation of article 159 of the constitution which restricts government from committing the country into future payments without Parliamentary approval.
Mukitale said the development in the oil and gas sector is going on in the country without a specific budget for related infrastructure.
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The Minister also tabled before Parliament the Production Sharing Agreement she signed on behalf of the government with Armor Group of Australia.
But Agago North MP Professor Morris Ogenga Latigo expressed doubt whether Ugandans will benefit from the Production Sharing Agreements it has signed with oil companies.
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Professor Latigo said international Oil Companies are likely to take back most of the money as recoverable costs. He cautioned against the rush to first oil saying the country needs to review the implications of whatever decisions are taken regarding the oil and gas.
Buyaga West MP, Barnabas Tinkasimire, also Bunyoro Parliamentary Group Chairperson told Parliament the Oil and gas industry is being developed without the involvement of the host communities. He faulted the government of failure to timely compensate the refinery project affected persons especially women.
He was backed by Hoima Woman MP, Kaahwa Tophace Byagira who highlighted the plight of women in Kabaale.
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Earlier, Professor Ogenga Latigo suggested that Parliament's Committee of Natural Resources should further scrutinize the statement by Minister and probe further into the anomalies.
Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga forwarded the statement to the Committee on Natural Resources without allowing the Minister to respond the issues raised by MPS.