Uganda Risks Becoming Hub for Gold Smugglers - Players

18 January 2019

Kampala — Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum has raised a red flag on the increasing criminality in the gold industry.

Speaking in Kampala on Wednesday, Mr Elly Karuhanga, the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum chairman, said there was need for government to act on the racket before Uganda is turned into a hub for gold criminals.

"We [Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum] condemn the gangs that are trying to turn Uganda into a smuggling hub. The country has a gang of criminals engaged in gold activities. We pledge our support for the mining police," he said.

Mr Karuhanga was briefing journalists on the developments within the minerals, oil and gas sector.

During a Mineral Wealth conference last year, it was noted that criminality, especially in the gold sector, had increased and was hurting the sector.

Mr Karuhanga also noted that some of the gold traded on the international market originates from Uganda yet it is branded as coming from elsewhere. Cases of people being conned have increased recently, according to the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum.

During the press briefing on Wednesday, Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum also demanded that government puts in place necessary requirements to assist in the development of the extractive sector.

For instance, in a statement, Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, demanded that government takes a tough stand on non-performing or redundant mining licences.

"Anyone with more than one licence and has no proof of activity, must immediately surrender it or be asked to pay for them," the statement reads in part. Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum represents the interests of private players in minerals and petroleum sectors.

Mr Patrick Mweheire, Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum vice chairman, said many investors across the globe are focusing on where to invest, urging Uganda to fasten activity in the oil sector not miss out.

"Most boardrooms are in budgeting right now. And Uganda is part of the discussion. If we can retain $5b of out of $15b to be invested in building the refinery and the pipelines, among other things, then that will be massive for the economy," he said.

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