The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni on Saturday warned his African counterparts to avoid any form of manipulation likely to come from oil companies that seek “unfair” agreements for exploiting African resources.
Museveni made these remarks while addressing a panel of African Peer Review Mechanism in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, during ongoing the 19th AU summit for member states.
According to the Ugandan leader, who spoke as the panel was reviewing Uganda’s performance, there have been attempts by oil companies to get oil exploitation agreements from his government.
He specifically cited a case in which some oil companies were reportedly 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,” Museveni reportedly said, while adding that he rejected the pressure because the population of Uganda is increasing and more Ugandans are acquiring vehicles.
The Ugandan leader also warned African heads of states to beware of a tendency oil companies reportedly employ by “under-declaring” the percentage of oil that is a capable of being exploited from ground.
“Another trick oil companies apply is the under-declaring of the percentage that can be exploited from the ground,” he noted.
Museveni urged his counterparts to invest in training local personnel from their respective countries, whom he said can effectively carry out the proper assessment of underground oil that cannot be exploited.
South Sudan leader, Salva Kiir on 9 July announced his country had embarked on the construction of its refinery in Upper Nile state, while that in Unity state is expected to commence soon. He did not, however, elaborate much on the development, which is likely to resolve the country’s oil crisis, worsened by the January shut down of its oil production over disputes with Sudan.