Kampala – Uganda plans to use oil revenues for infrastructural development once it starts production slated for 2017, the government has announced.
Maria Kiwanuka, the Ugandan finance minister, said all oil returns would be channelled to the construction and improvement of infrastructure like roads, railway, dams, power plants and revamping of the irrigation schemes all over the country.
“We are looking at infrastructural development first because it’s visible, manageable and accountable,” Kiwanuka said speaking at an oil transparency and accountability conference in Kampala on Thursday. “It also largely engages the private sector and shall create more jobs for our young population.”
Structural information is the large-scale transfer of resources from some sectors to others in a system, necessitated by fundamental policies.
Kiwanuka assured development partners, civil society organisations and Members of Parliament that the government was in full knowledge of the likely mismanagement of proceeds from oil, which has excited the entire country, but mechanisms like the 2012 Public Finance Bill and other oil legislations (enacted) were all preventive measures.
A specific production date for 1.2 billion (recoverable) oil barrels is still elusive, but the government has tagged 2017 to it, after construction of an oil refinery in Hoima District and erecting of an oil pipeline.
Trinidad and Tobago envoy Patrick Edwards urged the government to wisely prioritise its areas of investments if oil revenues, valued at an annual $2b (about sh5.1 trillion), are to make impact on the economy.
“We are a small country just like Uganda, but we got such development right from the start,” Edwards implored, urging the government to equally prioritise other sectors like education, health and agriculture for an integrated economic development.
MPs on the Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas (PFOG), however, challenged the government’s commitment towards equal distribution of the oil wealth and its sectorial priority.
MP Theodore Ssekikubo, also PFOG chairman, said: “With the continued arm-twisting of Parliament by the Executive on issues of transparency, grave challenges for the country lie ahead.”