NewsEast & Horn AfricaUganda: Museveni's oil revenue plan questioned

Wed,30Jul2014

Posted on Thursday, 14 March 2013 10:17

Uganda: Museveni's oil revenue plan questioned

By Godfrey Olukya

A top Ugandan public servant has questioned the powers of the minister in charge of oil affairs, setting himself on a collision course with President Yoweri Museveni, who backs the minister.

 

Dr. Ezra Suruma, a senior presidential adviser on finance and economic planning said the minister had too much power and this had emasculated parliament.

He said the powers of oversight on oil revenue should be vested in parliament, rather than an individual.

Giving too much power concerning oil to the minister is not good

Suruma seems to have the backing of legislators in both the ruling and opposition parties, but it is his decision to contradict Museveni that has raised eyebrows.

"Giving too much power concerning oil to the minister is not good," an MP, Thedore Sekikuuboao from Museveni's NMR party said, adding that parliament should have power on oil revenue.

He said there should be some sort of checks and balances "so that the minister alone does not make decisions".

More than 3.2 billion barrels of oil have been discovered in Uganda and there are expectations that more will be found as exploration is taking place in various parts of the country.

Museveni recently said oil revenue would not "be used for buying perfumes and cosmetics for our sisters. It will not be used for luxury. It will only be used for putting up infrastructure and development".

But in a statement that seemed to question the president's judgement, Suruma said "Ugandans own this revenue and should decide on which projects the funds are allocated".

Instead, he wants proceeds from oil production, which is slated to begin in 2015, to be allocated to projects that are a priority to the nation.



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