Following five hours of exchange and spirited debate, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has finally agreed with his party’s legislators that the proposed company to run the country’s oil revenues be made a public institution with limited liability.
Sources who attended a special caucus meeting of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party at State House Entebbe last night, say the move could see the proposed ‘National Oil Company Limited’ owned by Ugandans once this ownership is opened to the public on the stock exchange in the near future.
“We had a spirited debate over this issue and then we finally agreed that this institution should not be a parastatal. We agreed to form it as a limited company,” said the source.
The caucus of NRM MPs had been hastily called by the president, who is also the party’s chairman, to agree on a position ahead of a heated debate in Parliament this week on the Oil Bill. The bill is supposed to spell out guidelines on how the country’s 2.5 billion barrels of oil will be managed.
The source further revealed that the MPs reasoned that a limited company was the best possible deterrent against a possible attachment of the government’s assets in case the company went under.
“A limited company would save government the risk of liability, allow it to source funds on the stock exchange, it is less bureaucratic and in case of problems, it can use its own assets to save its neck,” the source added.
With this position in place, the caucus decided to increase the powers of the oil minister and also allow the president to appoint a board of Directors with the approval of parliament.
“Oil is a strategic resource. The minister should be powerful and also have powers to revoke and renew licensees,” the source reasoned.
The meeting which started at around 4pm to 9pm developed into the burning threat by Uganda to withdraw its forces from Somalia following a leaked report by the a special UN panel of experts which implicates Uganda in bolstering the M23 rebels fighting President Joseph Kabila’s DRC government.
For the first time since the threats were issued last week, President Museveni said Uganda has tasked the UN to give a clear explanation why it is being stabbed in the back yet it has sacrificed its own children in order to bring stability to the war torn country.
“Uganda has given the UN conditions to come clear on this report. We have been risking our soldiers in Somalia. It was wrong of them to just write that report without seeking our input,” he said.
Uganda has indeed sent a delegation to the UN, led by ICT Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda to make its case and press it to come clean on the report which it has since distanced itself from saying it did not reflect the will of the institution.
Our sources further told us that the MPs asked the President to state his position on the embattled Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Pius Bigirimana, who Parliament insists he should resign to allow proper investigations into the theft of billions of donor funds.
Although scandal has so far claimed its Principal Accountant Geoffrey Kazinda who is facing multiple charges of fraud, the MPs have been arguing that Mr. Bigirimana should also step aside because he is the Accounting Officer of the ministry under whose nose the money disappeared.
But the president insisted, “I am aware of the resolution of Parliament but also investigations are going on. If anything wrong is discovered about him, I will take action.”
About 60% of the NRM MPs attended and a press briefing is scheduled later today.
Reported By Arinaitwe Rugyendo