The Chairman of the Ugandan Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Elly karuhanga, has asked government to create a fund that will help Ugandan investors who are looking to invest in the oil and gas sector access capital at a relatively competitive interest rate.
Karuhanga added that this will help bridge the gap between the foreign and local investors in the sectors because the foreign investors get loans from their countries at a low interest rate compared to their Ugandan counterparts hence the inability for Ugandan investors to compete favorably in the sector.
“I add my voice to the call on government to create a fund that will offer cheap loans to Ugandans who are looking to tap in the oil and gas se tor because it is very competitive and a few of them have the capital to tap into successful,” he said.
“We have to find a way of keeping a significant percentage of the oil investment in Uganda. The chamber will continue engaging the state through a special committee to make sure that these issues are addressed in the upcoming local content law to make sure that Ugandans participate gainfully in the sector.”
The chairman said this during a chamber meeting that was chaired by the newly elected Vice chairman of the chamber Patrick Mweheire a few days back to kick off their work as their new committee.
Mweheire added his voice to the chairman’s call for a special fund saying that the current borrowing rates from commercial banks cannot help the investors because they are too high and mainly on a short term basis.
He promised that the committee is dedicated to help in building local content and helping Ugandans so that they are also able to gain directly from their good given natural resource.
“We are going to put our main focus on the local content. We want to train as many Ugandans as we can and also provide skills that will help them compete competitively with the foreigners who dominate the sector at the moment,” Mweheire said.
He added: “Before the real extraction of oil begins in 2020, a lot of money is going to be invested in the sector, over $10-$50billion. We want to see what we can do as a chamber to unblock particular areas that will allow Ugandans to freely tap into oil and gas sector opportunities. As the chamber, our role is to promote encourage, protect and foster responsible exploration and service delivery in the extraction sector. We want use our experience to help as many Ugandans as possible to work in the oil and gas sector tough skilling and training.”
According to the 2014 industrial baseline survey that looks at fostering opportunities for Ugandans in the oil and gas sector, the petroleum sector will provide 100,000 to 150,000 direct and indirect jobs.
However, it also revealed that the country had barriers like, limited information, lack of skills, poor infrastructure and bureaucracy in government agencies among others which limited the abilities of Ugandans to tap into these opportunities.
The vice chairman also revealed that the new council is already in high gear in preparation for the annual mineral wealth conference that will take place on August 4 this year