Tullow is not leaving Uganda soon, the oil company’s general manager has said.
Mr Jimmy Mugerwa said contrary to rumours that have been making rounds suggesting that Tullow Uganda was closing shop, the company’s investments in the country are huge and leaving is not an option.
“We have invested more than $3 billion in Uganda. We cannot wake up one morning and leave. We have to reap from our investment,” he said, without revealing much about the hearsay.
Speaking in Kampala on Tuesday during a send-off cocktail and dinner for this year’s winners of the Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme, Mr Mugerwa also called upon the government to expedite the process of awarding production licences.
Tullow and Total E&P Uganda submitted applications for production licences for their respective discoveries but the government is yet to grant the licences. Only CNOOC has been issued with a petroleum production licence for the Kingfisher field.
Eleven Ugandans, supported by Tullow, are set to leave for the United Kingdom to pursue Master degrees in Law, Engineering and Information Technology at reputable institutions such as University of Edinburgh, University of Manchester and University of Nottingham. The scheme was established in 2011 to fill the skills gaps and support long term socio – economic development in countries where the oil company operates.
State minister for Mineral Development Peter Lokeris lauded Tullow for its commitment towards empowering Ugandans with knowledge about the nascent petroleum industry.
In an apparent response to Mr Mugerwa’s remarks about the production licences, Mr Lokeris said: “We urge you to be patient. The government is more impatient to see the country’s first oil.”
Tullow Uganda says it has spent about $7.5 million on training more than 200 Ugandans. These include more than 100 civil servants, 50 recipients of the Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme since 2012 and 30 company staff.