Kampala — A group of Chinese companies have shown interest in partnering with Ugandan businesses to participate in developing the oil and gas sector of in Uganda.
Speaking during a recent oil and gas conference hosted by Stanbic Bank Uganda in collaboration with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC), in Kampala, Mr Patrick Mweheire, the chief executive officer Stanbic Bank, said there are now numerous opportunities presented by the promising oil and gas sector.
"A lot of activities are going on, a lot of tenders are being made" and expectations are that the final investment decision for the pipeline project will be made in the first quarter of next year," he said.
Uganda's oil and gas sector is expected to attract investments of about $15 billion (Shs54 trillion) with majority of the capital directed towards infrastructure development.
"The confirmation of commercially viable quantities of oil & gas has created a lot of interest and could potentially be the game changer as far as the transformation of our economy is concerned," Mr Mweheire said.
Mr Jimmy Mugerwa, the Tullow Uganda country manager, said the expected investment is going to double our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and "... when the GDP doubles it means you have more money per capita, it means government has more money for infrastructure, so the oil will change the way things are going to be done in this country," he said.
Mr Ernest Rubondo, the executive director of the Uganda Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), said government has already put in place policies and procedures that will ensure Ugandan companies actively participate in the sector's development.
He said PAU established a National Supplier Database, a requirement of the legislation of Uganda, and has so far registered more than 700 companies of which 500 are Ugandan, 250 foreign while 50 are Chinese.
"The data base is aimed at encouraging efficiency and participation of Ugandan suppliers, increasing competition and technology transfer," he said.
The next round of vetting of companies opens in September. He encouraged local companies to look for international partners who have specialised skills and resources they might not have.
"This will allow you to scale up your operations a lot faster and take advantage of new business streams at a minimal cost," Mr Rubondo said.
Mr Mweheire said the strategic partnership between ICBS and Stanbic will help these companies with business insights from two financial giants to get ahead in the oil & gas sector.
Mr Wang Lubin, the chief representative officer ICBC and board member of Standard Bank Group, said: "ICBC and Stanbic Bank are well-placed to play a leading role in the development of the sector. We have already been working with government and the companies which are executing a number of critical Oil related infrastructure projects and have vast experience working together on large scale projects across the continent."
Stanbic Bank Uganda, together with Sumitomo Mitsui of Japan, were recently appointed as join financial advisors for the 1,445km pipeline.