Thursday February 16 2012

Oil not a guarantee to growth - expert

By Ismail Musa Ladu


An oil and gas expert has said Uganda should not take it for granted that the exploration of oil deposits will automatically lead to economic prosperity and wellbeing.

“Uganda has an opportunity to learn from Nigeria’s experience,” Pof Ajee Danladi Mamman, from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland said at the Uganda Revenue Authority 7th Open Minds Forum.

Available data indicates that poverty in Nigeria continues to grow with about 100 million people living on less than a dollar a day, despite massive oil deposits.
Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer but the sector has been tainted by allegations of corruption, something participants attending the forum fear could happen to Uganda if there is no political will to fight it.

According to Prof. Ajee, the opportunities that are abound in the oil and gas sector - waiting to be taken advantage of across the economic divide , can be compromised if information is not made available to players in the various sectors. “Everybody has a chance to contribute something, but this will not come easy if there is no information, transparency and hard work,” Prof Ajee.

The Assistant Commissioner for petroleum exploration and production in the ministry of Energy, Robert Kasande, said Uganda has taken all precautions, including studying the Nigeria case with a view of avoiding any mistake that could jeopardise the gains in Uganda’s oil and gas sector.

Ugandans are generally unhappy with the way oil matter are being conducted signing agreements that are seen not to be transparent.