The Chief of Defence Forces Gen Wilson Mbadi chaired a meeting between senior officers from the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) and a delegation from the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) that mainly focused on identifying possible areas of collaboration between the two entities for the success of Uganda’s oil and gas exploration journey.
At the meeting, which was held at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs headquarters in Mbuya, Kampala, the delegation from UNOC was led by the company’s Chief Executive Officer Proscovia Nabbanja, who has played a pivotal role in shaping the Oil and gas company in Uganda. It comprised nine members.
In his opening remarks, Gen Mbadi welcomed the UNOC delegation and commended them for the progress so far reached in exploring the oil and gas industry in Uganda. “It has been a long journey and they can’t work alone,” he said, adding that “UNOC is managing the country’s profound interest in the oil industry which is in itself a critical resource, and its eventual extraction and refinery deeply relies on a stable and secure country.”
Gen Mbadi urged members at the meeting 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 observed.
The CDF called upon officials from UNOC to continue with efforts aimed at building capacities of Ugandans to tap from the many opportunities available in the oil field like hospitality, construction, and transportation, among others; saying this will minimize bad-mouthing and improve their quality of life.
He further urged them to spread the knowledge about the oil resource across the country and region, adding that ideological clarity strengthens national security. “It is difficult to defend what you don’t understand but having knowledge about something, as you have elaborated, motivates us to defend and protect the oil and gas industry,” he said.
He reminded the delegation that there can be no development without security. Gen Mbadi, however, implored officials from UNOC to constantly update the masses with accurate information about the progress of the project, formalize a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on possible areas of collaboration on security, their Corporate Social Responsibility, and promised a guided tour of the pipeline, refinery and Kabalega Industrial Park; to acquaint 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 social 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,” concluded the Chief of Defence Forces.
During her presentation, Nabbanja expressed her gratitude to the UPDF fraternity for securing the country and beyond. She promised collaboration and cooperation with all stakeholders for the success of the oil and gas sector. Nabbanja, however, noted that terrorism, vandalism, fires, explosions and oil spills; among others, remain potential threats to the industry although some interventions have been realized.
She said joint ventures have been encouraged, quarterly capacity-building meetings have taken root and banks have been encouraged to provide cheap loans to suppliers and oil modules incorporated in most training manuals; among others, in an effort to build local content for the project.
It was also mentioned that districts where the project is hosted and their respective traditional institutions will share their respective loyalties (revenue) with the state. During the meeting, the CDF was accompanied by the Deputy CDF Lt Gen Peter Elwelu, Joint Chief of Staff Maj Gen Leopold Kyanda, Deputy Director National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) Maj Gen (Rtd) Innocent Oula, Commander 1 Div Brig Gen Joseph Ssemwanga, Director Training Brig Twinamatsiko and Chief Personnel and Administration Brig Gen James Kinalwa; among other senior UPDF officers.
Others were General Manager Uganda Refinery Holding Company Dr. Michael Mugerwa, Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer UNOC Peter Muliisa, Chief Commercial Officer UNOC Gilbert Kamuntu, and Head of Corporate Affairs UNOC Sarah Banage, among others from UNOC.