Uganda

Citizens React: How Will Uganda Change After Oil Production Brings Major Revenue?

Oil production is expected to begin in Uganda in coming years. People in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, discuss the benefits and problems the industry could bring to the country.

Edna Namara, GPJ Uganda

Uganda

Uganda is expected to get a major financial windfall when oil production begins in 2020, potentially up to $50 billion. Citizens have different views on how the new government revenue will impact the country.

KAMPALA, UGANDA — A series of oil discoveries have been made in Uganda over the last decade but disputes between the government and foreign oil companies have delayed production.

By 2014, about 6.5 billion barrels of oil had been found in the Albertine Graben region, along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a 2015 study by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Oil production is expected to start in 2020, when the construction of an oil pipeline running from the oil-rich Hoima district to Tanga, neighboring Tanzania’s port city, is expected to be completed. Uganda is a landlocked country, so it has to export its oil through Tanzania.

Uganda is expected to produce between 200,000 and 250,000 barrels of oil per day. One international oil company estimates that the country will make up to $50 billion — almost three times its gross domestic product — from its oil deposits.

Global Press Journal spoke to people in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, about their expectations for the country once oil production begins. Here are some of their views.

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“Oil revenue should benefit Ugandans, especially women and girls. But I fear that the international oil companies that will be involved in the production might reap the most out of our oil deposits. Oil production is a high-tech industry, so I feel that ordinary Ugandans may not gain much from it besides getting unskilled jobs at production sites.” — Victoria Atukunda, programs coordinator at Sustainable Sanitation and Water Renewal Systems

Edna Namara, GPJ Uganda

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“This oil industry might disorganize Ugandans more than it benefits them. I hear a lot of stories of people who have been removed from their land to give way for oil exploration and are yet to be compensated. Additionally, it will take a long time for Uganda to export oil because it is a landlocked country. It will take ages for us to celebrate.” — Kenneth Kwikiriza, marketing officer at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation

Edna Namara, GPJ Uganda

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“The oil deposits will be of great benefit to Ugandans. Through the oil industry, the government will get enough revenue to develop the country’s infrastructure. But if the oil revenue is mismanaged and the profits repatriated to foreign countries by companies mining the oil, Ugandans will continue to be mired in poverty.” — Samuel Katwesigye, student

Edna Namara, GPJ Uganda

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“This is a great opportunity for Uganda. When the oil business is up and running, it will solve Uganda’s major problems like youth unemployment. Also, the government will raise a lot of money from oil-related taxes.” — Edith Kunihira, associate project officer at Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment

Edna Namara, GPJ Uganda

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“Well, I am a peasant with very little to expect in the oil business. Many times new technological developments benefit only a certain class of people. But I hope the revenue from the sales of oil will improve living standards in Uganda.” — Joel Kiwanuka, farmer

Edna Namara, GPJ Uganda

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“Every resource is as good as the custodian who is in charge of it. I hope the government departs from its corrupt ways and embraces accountability and transparency. If oil revenue is well managed, it will solve fundamental problems our country faces and reduce the national debt burden.” — Joan Magayane, engineer at the Kampala Capital City Authority

Edna Namara, GPJ Uganda

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“I believe Uganda will change when we start exporting oil. Personally, I can’t wait for that time because I know fuel will be cheaper. The cost of doing business in Uganda will be lower because the cost of fuel determines the prices of almost all commodities in Uganda.” — Phillip Muhanguzi, milk vendor

Edna Namara, GPJ Uganda

 

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