For the first time, the President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has publicly consented to the pursuits of building a crude oil pipeline for the export of Uganda’s Oil; though, this will not impede plans to build a 60,000 capacity refinery that are already underway. Museveni still maintains that Uganda will go on with building a refinery irrespective of the change in the government’s position.
Museveni seems to have finally buckled under the demands of the Oil Companies that fancy the crude oil pipeline option. To strike a compromise, Museveni now indicates that Uganda will take a two- pronged approach where we shall have both the refinery and the pipeline, which pipeline is likely to take the northern route through Sudan to Port Lamu.
While giving the State of the Nation Address, the President pointed out that: “Although initially we did not have interest in the pipeline, our commercial partners the oil companies seem to have a big interest in it.”
But Museveni still faulted the oil companies’ position and sounded unconvinced on the matter when he argued that their position of insisting on an oil refinery was based on their failure to understand the “new dynamics” in Africa and what was previously called the third world.
“They underestimate the consumption level of Ugandans and their purchasing power,” Museveni asserted.
“That is why they are desperate for a pipeline, to ensure their investments. They fear that no body will buy their finished products, hence their desperation for a pipeline. “
But even with his discontentment, for now Museveni can do nothing more than complain about the matter. The oil companies will have their way and thus Museveni says he agreed to the packaging because “whatever the packaging, the money is ours, whether it comes through the refinery or the pipeline.”
Museveni also seems to have run out of patience with the slow manner in which the negotiations on the matter were coming through.
“Paralysis is also costly on our side. We cannot go on, without moving, arguing with oil companies endlessly.” Museveni reasoned.
“We need the money to build our infrastructure and to do other important things.”