The Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) and the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have agreed to collaborate and strengthen security for the success of oil and gas exploration in Uganda.
Speaking during a meeting on Friday, September 15, 2023, at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs in Mbuya, Kampala, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen Wilson Mbadi, urged both UPDF and UNOC to look for possible areas of collaboration in the oil sector especially in the security field for the benefit of Ugandans and Africans in pursuit of Pan Africanism.
“It is a glaring project on the security aspect and calls for cooperation in accordance with Article 209 of the 1995 Uganda Constitution that mandates the UPDF to protect the territorial integrity of Uganda, cooperate with civilian authorities during emergency situations, foster harmony and understanding between UPDF and civilians and participate in the economic development of the country,” he said.
The CDF urged UNOC to continue with efforts aimed to build capacities of Ugandans to tap from the many opportunities available in the oil field like hospitality, construction and transportation among others saying this will minimise bad-mouthing and improve their quality of life.
Gen Mbadi also urged UNOC to spread the knowledge about the oil resource across the country saying ideological clarity strengthens national security; reminding them that there cannot be development in an insecure area.
“It is difficult to defend what you don’t understand but having knowledge about something motivates to defend and protect the oil and gas industry,” he said.
The UDF senior officer implored UNOC to constantly update the masses with accurate information about the progress of the project, formalise the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and possible areas of collaboration on security, their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
He promised a guided tour of the oil refinery, East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), Kabaleega International Airport and Kabaale Industrial Park so as to acquaint UPDF officers with knowledge of the project.
“Now, we believe that the oil and gas industry will trigger a domino effect on the military and stir economic development. We think this will be a game changer in the socio-economic development of our country. We promise to play our role towards providing security for the project and encourage you (UNOC) to play yours, too,” Gen Mbadi concluded.
Speaking during the same meeting, UNOC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms Proscovia Nabbanja, noted that terrorism, vandalism, fires, explosions and oil spills among others remain potential threats to the oil and gas industry although some interventions have been realised.
She, therefore, promised collaboration and cooperation with all stakeholders for the success of the oil and gas sector adding that joint ventures have been encouraged, quarterly capacity building meetings have taken root and banks have been encouraged to provide cheap loans to suppliers.
The CEO revealed that oil modules have been incorporated in most training manuals among others in an effort to build local content for the project.
Ms Nabbanja said districts like Hoima, Buliisa, Kikuube and Nwoya among others where oil projects are being hosted and their respective traditional institutions will share their respective loyalties with the state.