By Juma Nsubuga
The minister of Energy and Mineral Development Dr Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu has urged Bishops to support and bless Uganda’s Oil and Gas projects. Se says this would ensure sustainable development of the resources.
Dr Nankbirwa made this request while addressing the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda at Bushara Island in Kabale district about the current status of Oil and Gas sector in Uganda.
The super minister informed Bishops that Uganda is now one of the established petroleum provinces in the world.
“I kindly beg you the men of God through Your Grace the Arch Bishop Dr Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu to bless Uganda’s Oil and Gas with a special prayer for continued efforts to ensure sustainable development of the resources” she said.
She confirmed to the clergy that the resources discovered to date are sufficient to support the commercial production of petroleum in the country.
Nankabirwa who is also the Chief Mobiliser for the Bible House project, asked Bishops to offer full support to the Oil and Gas projects by communicating positively about it to their followers.
She said the sector comes with immense opportunities which the church and it’s followers should take advantage of including employment, skills development and provision of goods and services.
She further informed the men of God that Uganda’s Oil and Gas industry had progressed from the early exploration period, adding that the discovery of commercial Oil reserves and the on going development stage entails putting in place the infrastructure required to produce and commercialese Uganda’s Oil resources.
“The launch of the project in April 2021 and the announcement of the Final Investment Decision in February 2022 triggered a period of three years of intense infrastructure development in preparation for the first oil in 2025” she confirmed to the Bishops
Dr. Nankabirwa however, had no kind words for activists who are doing all the possibilities to frustrate Uganda’s Oil and Gas projects under the pretext that it will destroy the environment and is also unsustainable. She said such rise in activism has potential to curtail the progress made to date and deny Ugandans and the region the benefits and opportunities brought about by the Oil and gas sector.
She said Oil and Gas sector play a critical role in developing Uganda through providing opportunities for the improved infrastructure, capacity building among the youth, improving livelihood of the host communities and providing linkages with other productive sectors of the economy like agriculture, tourism and education among other.
Meanwhile the Bishops expressed the fear on how oil and gas resources will be distributed to all Ugandans. They said much as they are willing to support government on this sector, they need equal distribution of oil and gas resources to all Ugandans.
The bishop of Soroti Dioceses Odongo also questioned ‘how the oil and gas resources will help other areas in Uganda where there is no oil’ he asked.
The bishop of West Buganda Henry Katumba Tamale chipped in by asking why some people in areas where oil was discovered are not yet paid.
The Arch bishop of church of Uganda Dr Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu also questioned how Ugandans are going to benefit from oil and gas. “We need to know because we don’t want corruption to take over because it can kill and destroy our oil which was given to Ugandans by God. After getting this information, we shall be able to pass it on to the Christians. Anything to do with development of Uganda, we’re part of it” the Arch bishop said.