Ugandan and DRC CSOs’ Communique Rejecting Secret Agreements Signed for the Lake Albert Oil Project in Uganda (13.04.2021)

Joint Communique between the President of the Republic of Uganda and the President of the United Republic of Tanzania on the Implementation of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project on the 11th April, 2021 at the State House Entebbe, Uganda (11.04.2021)

President Museveni letter to Hon. Monica Azuba Ntege – Ruling out external or internal borrowing for development infrastructure (18.09.2019)

Another look into the Oil-Road Cost: “Package 2” Hoima-Butiaba-Wanseko Road!

In the newest report of Oil Roads, which is expected to borrow funds for. The China Exim Bank is supposed to be provider of 85 % of the cost of the operation and building of the roads in these projects. I will only look into one of them, as I have previously looked at this significant one.

This is the Hoima-Butiaba-Wasenko Road. A project that was supposed to start in 2015 and was clocking in funds from the state budgets in 2017. Back in 2015, the road was estimated to cost $126m USD. Today, with the recent report, the same road is costing $179,538m USD. That is jump of nearly $50m in a five years time. In addition, of these bloated funds, 85 % of it will be loaned from China and the rest 15% covered by the Government of Uganda (GoU).

In 2017, this project was designated the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), which signed a deal in January 2016. However, by the time of the report 2019, it is another Chinese Company who has the contract. This is Chongqing International Construction Corporation (CRC) Ltd. With the recent contract, the loans are clearly getting direct back to the Chinese, as their corporations are the ones with the contracts to build. A clever way of borrowing and then getting returns.

With this mind, we can see the changes, see over the years how the price has changed. If Members of Parliament was afraid of the price per kilometre in the past. They should be now. As the changes of price on the same project has changed significantly. There is no doubt, that the Chinese government are getting added loans on each of the packages in this deal. As this is just one of the roads in question.

This is 111km is now costing 659,921,964,460.17UGX in Ugandan terms or 659bn shillings and that equals to about 5,9bn shillings. Therefore, the prices has sky-rocketed and the price per kilometre is abnormal and extremely costly. The overpriced asphalt and the consultation is in absurd levels. The previosly estimated price for this road was about 444bn shillings. Therefore, we can see rising price between the years in both currencies. About 200bn shillings growth in 5 years. 

To many cooks and too few ingredients. They are boiling soup on nails on this one. Wonder how this will end. As I felt in 2017, that the pricing of this particular road was a bit too much, but now they have just escalated it.

We can wonder whose eating, but someone is. We just don’t know who, because there been designated funds to build this one in the past and it has still not commenced. Surely, this road will be built, but at what point. However, with the added loans, the pressure should be on. Also, to secure the oil so it makes financial sense too. That the added value is there. It got to be. Because this project is over the top. This is the real OTT service, paid for by the Chinese and the tab is all taken by the Ugandans. Peace.

Uganda National Oil Company: Press Release (14.05.2019)

Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC): Dr. Josephine Wapakabulo resignation letter as Chief Executive Officer (13.05.2019)

UNOC Signs Memorandum of Understanding With CNOOC to Start a Partnership in Exploration in the Albertine Graben (05.09.2018)

The Uganda Budget Framework Paper FY2018/19 for Energy and Mineral Development is saying that the External Financing is the key for this Sector – Period!

The Budget Framework Paper for Financial Year of 2018/2019 for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development is really revealing how the financing of the sector is and how the state is involved with the manner. Also, how low-key the main factors are and lacking transparency is hitting the Energy Sector of Uganda. Not that is surprising, since the agreements, the licenses and the tenders are usually kept behind closed doors.

However, the main part of the Framework Paper is evident of the issues at hand:

The indicative budget ceilings for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development have been rationalised in line with the sector priorities and national priorities as communicated in the Budget Call Circular and in the Presidential Directives. The ceilings for Vote 017 for the FY 2018/19 are as follows: Wage Recurrent is UGX 4.23Bn; Non-Wage Recurrent is UGX 74,04Bn; GoU Development is UGX 307,84Bn and the Development Partner contribution is UGX 1,608.41Bn. Under Vote 123 ceiling is UGX 81.98Bn is for the GoU Domestic Development and UGX594.00Bn is from external financing” (Energy and Mineral Development, Budget Framework Paper FY 2018/19, 2018).

The building of vital infrastructure, the refinery, the pipelines and energy production facilities are all dependent on funding from abroad. If it is grants, loans or paid-in-full agreements done in secrecy. Because, there are more than the shadows of this budget framework paper. It is saying a lot and the votes for the future is showing the future too. That the Ugandan economy is prospering, as the budget are needing all funding from afar to be able to build needed infrastructure. Also, needs the grants for the Rural Electrification, the ones who the state has even borrowed to do.

Therefore, this Budget Framework Paper is showing the troubles ahead. This isn’t voting for better economy, know this is dependency and also proving how much the donors and partners are involved in making sure the economy gets addicted to it.

When it comes to the refinery, the details are clearly still in the wind: “The process of selecting of the Lead Investor is still progressing and the negotiations are ongoing between Government and the selected investor. The process is expected to be completed in FY 2017/2018. There after FEED and ESIA for refinery development will be undertaken with the Lead Investor on board” (Energy and Mineral Development, Budget Framework Paper FY 2018/19, 2018). So the selecting of it is not finalized, well, for some thought Russians had secured agreement and the reason for Museveni to visit Moscow. Clearly, that ship has sailed, we can wonder if Total or any other company would do this. As Total has the biggest chairs of licenses in the Lake Albertine Basin. Time will tell, but another proof of lack of transparency, when the Ministry has to write this.

Procurement Bottlenecks including lengthy bidding processes that require no-objections from the external financiers at each stage of execution. There is need for PPDA to revise guidelines for procurements relating to flagship projects. In addition, the following measures need to be considered: financing agreements are signed, project is almost ready to kick off. PPDA should reduce the administrative review timelines that sometimes stall progress” (Energy and Mineral Development, Budget Framework Paper FY 2018/19, 2018).

This here is initially following the guidelines of the First Amendment of the 1995 Constitution of 2017, the Land Amendment that the National Resistance Movement put forward before the Age Limit. That would fit the narrative of the Ministry and their wishes. It is like reading the same idea, to give more power to the state and able to land issues quickly.

What we can learn, also and which is important, these developments, these infrastructures projects couldn’t have been built if it wasn’t for external loans, externals grants or direct aid, if not on the license fees and the parts that is taxed. However, the grand amount and the majority of the projects needs the external funding.

This is not surprising, it is to be expected because Museveni doesn’t want to use his money. He want to spend other people’s money and also the money of the future. To benefit him today, that is why the deals are done in the secrecy…. We don’t know the reasons and the value of the licenses, the ones who is to build the refinery, even the grand agreement between the Corporations who will build the Pipeline. We know that certain companies has failed to build the dams and used bad material, but that is because of the Chinese Contractors has saved money, while being paid-in-full.

President Museveni blessed that deal and got scraps back. Time will tell, but this isn’t a good look. Not because I want it to be bad, but because the money says so. Peace.

Opinion: Now that the World Bank has new priorities, they will most likely not loan to the pipelines in East Africa!

 

There is certain movements that will strike as more expensive for the East African Community (EAC). This being for the Government of Uganda (GoU) and the Government of Kenya (GoK), who has big plans of petroleum pipelines from their oil-fields and to the coast. That being from Turkana to Lamu Port. While the Ugandan oil goes from Hoima to Tanga Port in Tanzania. Both development and industrial projects will have issues with the funding. The World Bank has supported massive infrastructure projects in both countries.

Therefore, for the two counties big development and oil industry, this is giant set-back, since they have to find funding and loans for the pipelines on the open market. Even with higher interests and making the profits of it lesser, than it would have been with a World Bank loan. It would not hurt the pocket as much as it does on the open market. The banks wants more profits themselves and also make sure they are paid-in-full.

With all this in mind. There are speculations, but first. Parts of the self-answering service. Before we look at the reactions in Kenya and Uganda. All of are important, as the state is involved in the licensing and building the pipelines. They are directly into the development and procurement of the pipelines. That is why this is big blow for the administrations and their possible tax-profits on it.

Word Bank Q&A:

Q. How is “upstream” oil and gas defined?

Upstream is an industry term that refers to exploration of oil and natural gas fields, as well as drilling and operating wells to produce oil and natural gas” (World Bank, 2017).

Current projects in our portfolio would continue as planned. However, no new investments in upstream oil and gas would be undertaken after 2019, unless under exceptional circumstances as noted in the decision” (World Bank, 2017).

Kenya Pipeline:

The announcement by the bank, which has significant interests in Kenya’s oil prospecting sector, does not bode well for the country’s anticipated entry into the club of oil producing nations beginning next year. Analysts said they do not expect an immediate reaction to the announcement even as they acknowledged that it takes the shine from oil in the long term” (…) “Locally, the World Bank is offering technical support to the Kenyan government, through the Kenya Petroleum Technical Assistance Project, to prime all stakeholders for commercial oil production and sale. The six-year programme is scheduled to run until February 2021 and involves the World Bank managing a Sh5.2 billion fund set up by investors from Germany, Norway and Britain. The World Bank’s private lending arm, International Finance Corporation, is however directly involved in Kenya’s oil fields, having a 6.83 per cent stake in Africa Oil, the Canadian exploration firm with interests in northern Kenya oil blocks” (Mutegi, 2017)

Uganda Pipeline:

The pipeline, is expected to be completed by the year 2020, when the country is scheduled to start oil production. In fact, Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart recently commissioned the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. The two leaders laid mark stones for the crude oil pipeline in Mutukula, Kyotera district and Kabaale in Hoima district. Total E&P Uganda, a subsidiary of French oil giant, Total S.A, is spearheading the construction of the crude oil pipeline on behalf of the joint venture partners. Adewale Fayemi, the general manager, Total E&P Uganda says discussions are ongoing to discuss on the formalities of how the pipeline will be run. Already, an agreement has been reached that the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) will be run and managed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) – private pipeline company. This means that a private company will be incorporated with joint venture partners – Tullow Uganda, Cnooc Uganda Ltd and Total E&P Uganda, and the governments of Uganda and Tanzania as shareholders in the company” (Ssekika, 2017)

Certainly, this will put a strain on the projects. They have to deliver another type of arrangement to make sure they get funding and have the funds to pay the added interests the banks wants. The added points on the dollar and the interest-rates will hit state-owned firms and the state itself. Since the pipelines most likely becomes more expensive and will be less profitable.

That the World Bank is pulling out of these projects is all within line of the Paris Accord, as they have professed is the reason. Still, this will make these projects more expensive and make sure they are earning less on it. Unless, the crude-oil prices are going up to a level that makes these investments even more profitable. That is only for time to tell. Since it is costly projects and also sophisticated to build. There is needed lots of expertise combined state planning to achieve the development plans.

This is just the beginning, but the pipelines and these investments are vital for both Kenya and Uganda. As the governments are already borrowing state funds on the possible earnings from the oil reserves in their basins. Therefore, they need to drill and need the petrodollar as quickly as possible. Peace.

Reference:

Mutegi, Mugambi – ‘World Bank dims Turkana oil hopes’ (14.12.2017) link: http://www.nation.co.ke/business/World-Bank-dims-Turkana-oil-hopes/996-4227848-u02v8n/index.html

Ssekika, Edward – ‘East African Crude Oil Pipeline: The Inside Story’ (11.12.2017) link: http://www.oilinuganda.org/features/economy/east-african-crude-oil-pipeline-the-inside-story-details-emerge-of-how-the-crude-oil-pipeline-will-be-financed-managed.html

World Bank – ‘Q&A: The World Bank Group and Upstream Oil and Gas’ (12.12.2017) link: http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatechange/brief/qa-the-world-bank-group-and-upstream-oil-and-gas

Opinion: President Museveni praises Equatorial Guinea for it’s rampant Oil-Corruption; wants to learn his tricks!

In these days the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the Republic of Uganda are on a state visit in Malabo, visiting and learning tricks from the Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Nguema Obiang, who has used the oil to enrich himself and his loyal subjects. Not build a welfare state, but make sure the family of Obiang get wealthy. Certainly, Uganda is preparing for their own oil production in the Lake Albertine basin, as the pipeline building from the production to the Port Tanga in Tanzania.

This is why President Museveni are visiting Equatorial Guinea to learn the tricks of the trade, as the state of Uganda are still in the dark of the oil-deals between the international companies and the state. We can wonder how the funds will be spoiled and how Museveni plans to use the oil funds for personal gains. If so, he wouldn’t praise President Obiang, who has his whole career to spend the oil profits from his republic. This is what Museveni wants to learn, since his career has been tricking out all sorts of play from Ugandan republic. The petroleum profits can be misspent and hidden just like in the republic of Obiang. Take a look!

President Museveni’s praise:

We are therefore in Equatorial Guinea for two things: looking at how to support prosperity of one another and how to push for our strategic security. I also congratulate Equatorial Guinea for using it’s oil and gas very well. When I was last here for the AU Summit, I noticed gaps between the airport and the city centre. Today, all these gaps were gone. In their place are new, well-planned buildings. And I see the city is refurbished. Some people say oil is a curse but in Equatorial Guinea it is a blessing” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, 26.08.2017)

Business in Equatorial Guinea:

Since the discovery of the offshore oil deposits, many investors have shown great interest in the country. Foreign direct investment inflows into the country had thus been consistently high for the past years. Nevertheless, in 2016 the FDI inflow amounted to USD 54 million, a sharp decrease from USD 233 million recorded the previous year (and the historical peak of USD 2.73 billion in 2010) . The total stock of FDI in the country is currently at USD 13.4 billion” (…) “Corruption in particular is problematic. In addition, the business climate of the country remains rather unfavourable for investment. Cumbersome procedures and high compliance costs slow licensing and make starting a business more difficult. Weak regulatory and judicial systems may discourage foreign investment as well, along with high credit costs and limited access to financing. The government controls long-term lending through the state-owned development bank. Equatorial Guinea ranked 178th out of 190 countries in the 2017 Doing Business report published by the World Bank, losing three spots compared to the previous year” (Santander Trade, 2017).

Son of the President on trial:

The corruption trial of Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, ended in Paris on 6 July with the prosecution calling for a three-year jail term, a €30 million (US$34 million) fine and the confiscation of assets. The Tribunal will return a verdict on 27 October. The 48-year-old vice-president of Equatorial Guinea was not in court to hear the prosecution’s claim that he used money stolen from his country’s treasury and laundered through a shell company to fund a lavish lifestyle in France” (Transparency International, 2017).

This was what that is well-known of the Equatorial Guinea corruption and the son of President has also had challenging cases in the United States. Now the son is also having alleged fraud and criminal charges in France. Clearly, the Ugandan President has already known for corruption behavior. Therefore, even a state agency of PPDA has some words, that the government needs strict regulations before procurement and infrastructure development. This will be clearly important when it comes to petroleum industry. Take a look!

PPDA strict regulation on public procurement:

Public procurement is a key pillar of the public financial management system. The country’s budget and plans are translated into actual services to our people through the public procurement system. It is also the link between the public sector and the private sector as it is the medium through which the private sector does business with Government. Public procurement therefore involves large sums of money and as our budget grows with the priorities of Government remaining infrastructure development, the proportion of the budget earmarked for public procurement remains significant and therefore calls for strict regulation” (PPDA, 2017).

Audits and investigations by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets indicate that corruption in the procurement process manifests more in the evaluation of bids, reported to be at 58%. PPDA’s Manager Capacity Building Ronald Tumuhairwe says such corrupt practices lead to awarding of contracts to incompetent individuals hence shoddy works in several government projects” (…) “He adds that the second process where corruption manifests is awarding of contracts at 12.5%, followed by receipt and opening of bids, reviewing evaluation of bids, advertising and signing of contracts” (Sebunya, 2017).

President Museveni clearly has own agencies saying it is important with strict regulations on procurement and infrastructure developments like the ones needed for oil industry in the republic. The regulation of oil industry is lax, to make sure the state isn’t transparent with its profits and taxation of the industry. This is what Museveni wants, that the state and the public doesn’t know the contracts or the agreements between the parties involved. That is something President Obiang surely have the capacity to teach Museveni. And how to make sure his family is earning from the state resource, instead of the public and the state itself. Peace.

Reference:

Transparency International – ‘ON TRIAL FOR CORRUPTION: FRENCH PROSECUTORS DEMAND JAIL TERM AND €30 MILLION FINE FOR OBIANG’ (11.07.2017) link: https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/on_trial_for_corruption_french_prosecutors_demand_jail_term_and_30_million

Santander Trade – ‘EQUATORIAL GUINEA: FOREIGN INVESTMENT’ (August 2017) link: https://en.portal.santandertrade.com/establish-overseas/equatorial-guinea/investing-3

Sebunya, Wycliffe – ‘Corruption manifests most in the procurement process – IG’ (25.08.2017) link:http://radioonefm90.com/corruption-manifests-most-in-the-procurement-process-ig/

PPDA – ‘EVALUATING INNOVATIVE ANTI CORRUPTION POLICIES IN PUBLIC PROCUREMENT IN UGANDA’ (02.08.2017) link: https://www.ppda.go.ug/evaluating-innovative-anti-corruption-policies-in-public-procurement-in-uganda/