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Monday, July 16, 2012

Ugandan President Urges African Counterparts To Avoid Manipulation by Oil Firms


Unattributed report: “Museveni Warns African Leaders on Oil Agreements”

President Yoweri Museveni has warned his African counterparts to avoid manipulation by oil companies that seek unfair agreements for exploiting African resources.

He was on Saturday addressing a panel of African Peer Review Mechanism inAddis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital where he and other leaders of the African Union member states have assembled for the 19th AU Summit.

The panel was reviewing Uganda`s performance. It is a self-monitoring instrument intended to foster adoption of policies, standards and practices that will lead to political stability among member states.

Museveni explained that there have been attempts by oil companies to get oil exploitation agreements from his government.

For instance, President Museveni observed, oil companies were opposed to the establishment of a refinery in Uganda, arguing that it would not be profitable because other East African countries have also discovered oil.

“It has been a real fight. They opposed the refinery because oil has been found in Southern Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania, saying that there will be no local market,” explained Museveni, adding that he rejected the pressure because the population of Uganda is increasing and more Ugandans are acquiring vehicles.

The Ugandan statesman attributed his country`s successful oil exploitation agreements to the presence a local trained team that can counter the oil companies.

“Another trick oil companies apply is the under-declaring of the percentage that can be exploited from the ground.”

This, he said, also requires well trained personnel to work out a proper assessment of unexploitable oil that will remain in the ground. `Long stay in power` On democracy, the President told the African panel that Uganda has gone through a transformation process and has registered highly on democratic governance.

“I can accept aid on any other sector, but I do not need lectures on democracy because this is what I fought for. I started organizing elections when I was in secondary school. Nobody can give me advice on democratic governance,” he said.

Museveni also defended his long stay as President saying that although some people think that staying in power long is bad, it has helped him to acquire experience.

He observed that for peasant societies to transform into middle-class societies there must be stimuli which include, among others, a skilled working and middle class.

In addition, the President said that there should be markets to absorb what is produced. “This is why regional and international markets in countries like USA,China, and India are very important to African economies”, he pointed out.

Mr. Museveni advised the African panel to be specific on their benchmarks.

“If you talk about good governance, do not talk about homosexual rights.”

Museveni told the panel that a private sector-led economy is also important, that it has been found that economic growth is registered quickly when the private sector leads the economy.

Addressing the same panel, South African President, Jakob Zuma hailed Uganda`s performance and advised other African leaders to emulate especially Uganda`s efforts on value addition.

President Zuma noted that the government of Uganda has done a lot since 1986.

The African panel sitting in Ethiopia`s capital was chaired by the newly elected Senegalese President, Macky Sall.

(Description of Source: Kampala The New Vision Online in English -- Website of the state-owned daily publishing a diversity of opinion; URL:

Source: The New Vision Online


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