New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Live - President Addresses Parliament

2.30: Welcome to the live coverage of the President's address to the Ugandan Parliament on this brightly hot Thursday afternoon. The temperatures are sweltering outside, but it sure is cool inside the Parliamentary chambers.

President Museveni is just hours from a four-day visit in Russia where he was on an official visit.

2.40: The Uganda National Anthem is sung shortly before the session is started off with a brief prayer by the Assistant Clerk.

2: 46: Communication from the chair: This the only opportunity I address the House while am standing. I am very grateful (cheers). I wish to welcome the President from his trip from Russia.

Honorable members, it now my duty to invite the President to address Parliament.

2:50: The President starts his address to House. He said it was to counter lies of some NGOs and the opposition as regards developments in the country.

There is total peace in the country now, Museveni says. But there are groups that are spreading lies about the oil in Uganda in their own interest, he remarks.

He adds that Uganda has cooperated with Trindad Tobago and Norway to train Petroleum experts from Uganda.

We avoided the mistakes surrounding the production sharing agreement because of the scientists. "Not because of Museveni the president, the ministers, but it was our scientists."

He admits that he knows little about oil and that the country's oil would never have been discovered if

3.00pm: 'We were the first to discover oil in the Rift Valley region. Why, he asks? It was because it was our scientists who did th seisomitics studies and confirmed that there was oil and gas underground.

The oil companies would never have come in if it was not for the scientists, Museveni explains, then alludes to Russia's rich resources in both oil and gas. And that is one mistake Uganda avoided.

3.10pm: Another mistake many countries have made is failing to build oil refineries. Many countries export crude petroleum and all the associated jobs [refining]. Uganda avoided that mistake because "from the beginning, we knew" despite an earlier campaign against building refineries.

"The Natural resources committee should find out how many refineries there are in Africa. "These are the facts you should be dealing in, how many are there, and why?" Museveni says.

3.15pm: A landlocked country like Uganda will suffer when it exports crude oil, especially through having to pay transit fees. Uganda will lose 40 dollars per barrel.

Since Uganda's oil is waxy, the cost of transporting the oil is more because of having heat the pipeline all the way through to the Kenyan cost, explains the president.

3.20pm: Another mistake Uganda avoided was on issue of profitability. There was the Stabilization Clause, where Uganda was to renounce taxes on the oil companies. The president says that was OK, but then there rose the question of superprofits.

If there were super profits, they would be taxed without affecting the profitability levels of the oil companies. The oil firms protested the taxation on super-profits but then it was agreed that they would be taxed.

3.30pm: The environment is another part of the mistakes Uganda had to take care of. "Oil is a finite resource." Protecting our environment from oil pollution among other environmental issues will ensure sustainability of the country's oil wealth.

3.35pm: Auxiliary services like waste management, catering, accommodation and plenty more will be provided by Ugandan firms, insists Museveni. "During the exploration phase, we have not spent money on this but there is no way foreigners will provide these services."

"We need to use the money from oil to build capacity. We need to generate at least 40,000 Mega Watts of electricity to efficiently run our economy, with or without oil. Japan is a prosperous country yet it has no oil. Why not Uganda?

"With the oil and gas money, we shall revamp the railway system to link to South Sudan, Congo and Rwanda.

"We need to support innovation to drive this economy."

3.40pm: The president says we need to work on the roads. "Oil money will save us from such headaches"

The money from oil and gas will also be injected into the agricultural sector, especially with the provision of irrigation systems to enhance capacity.

3.42pm: "The country also needs to focus on real estate owned by the government of Uganda in foreign countries like Brazil, China, USA etc." Such resources can help bring in income into the country on a continuous basis

We can also use oil ore in Kabale and Tororo to be used in our steel industry.

3.50pm: The president expresses his discontent with some political leaders, particularly "Honorable Ssekikuubo and his counterparts" who are frustrating the ruling government's efforts to see Uganda's petroleum programme a success.

That, they claim: " These scientists discovered the oil, but they do not know how to negotiate. They don't know economics. They don't know the laws," which the president finds negative.

4.10pm: He goes on about the recoverable oil situation. He explains the meaning of "recoverable oil": If say, there are about one billion barrels underground, but then the scientists find out that only much can be drawn out.

He is disgusted by one oil firm which wrote saying that "they would be able to recover (pump out ) only 7% of the oil. . . in writing" yet the "highest recovery rate [of oil] internationally is maximum 60%. But these people proposed to pump out only 7%. Our scientists rejected it, and now since they rejected it, they are bad. . . Ssekikubo, Nuwagaba, Katuntu. That is the group now."

"I will not punish the oil companies by the cane. I will punish them by revoking their licenses. The saboteuers who work in the interest of foreign people do not want our petroleum programme to succeed," says Museveni.

4.20pm: Referring to the ENI deal, he jokes about accusations surrounding that company. " If Mbabazi ate their money, then he ate it for nothing," he said as parliament burst into laughter.

4.25pm: Then he goes on to say how the county can do without foreigners. "Common sense demands that no foreigner should ever involve in our politics. The foreigners always get it wrong." He cites the kind of relationship foreigners had with fallen Ugandan president Idi Amin, whom he says "was wrong, and was right."

"I only listen to foreigners if they are right. . . or if they are nice. If they are not, I tell them to go to hell!" Then he turns to Honorable Theodore Ssekikuubo.

"He was around when Kony was murdering, maiming and looting Ugandans. What this this young actor [Ssekikuubo) do to help Ugandans? I did not see Ssekikuubo help us."

"The situation in the country has improved and that there's peace in the whole country. Inflation which was 30% in 2011 has dropped to less than 5 % today. The economy has recovered. Inspite of Besigye's riots, inflation has fallen."

4.30pm: On another occasion, I will tell you how to fight corruption - when you come out of recess," after which he unleashes his characteristic vernacular proverbs. "My kick takes time to produce results", one of the saying translates.

Museveni: "It is the NRM which will eliminate corruption in the public service. We shall come and tell the people the truth. The party will be the one to fight to battle corruption. To hear some NRM officials joining in this confusion is bad."

"The NRM cadres have stopped the stealing of drugs in district health centres. If they are finished, and not stolen, that's another matter.

"Therefore, stay tuned, you'll hear how the NRM will crown its long list of victories with the fight against corruption in the public service. My next address will be about this.

4.40pm: "The NRM has led Uganda out of several other difficulties. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year," he concludes.

4.42pm: Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah takes over for with closing remarks. He jokes through the Parliament's rules 'broken" by the president like of the use of vernacular in his address. It goes without notice that the president fancies telling his proverbs in vernacular (especially in Runyankole) and then translates them to English for clarity and comprehension.

4.45pm: The address is closed with the national anthem.

OK, that's it folks! You've heard what the president had to say and as he has hinted on, we hope to see him again back in the House for a lecture on how to "fight corruption".

God bless you all.

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