Presidential aspirant, Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu has pledged to properly utilize revenues from the petroleum industry. Muntu who seeking for presidency on the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) ticket said the current government can not be trusted with “oil money”.
“The good thing is, if you trust and elect me and ANT into power, revenues from oil and gas industry and from other resources, shall be properly utilized and accounted for, because as a party, we have financial discipline,”. Muntu told his jubilant supporters.
Muntu was addressing his supporters at Buhimba Town Council, Kikuube district on Sunday November 22, 2020 on his campaign tour in the oil-rich Bunyoro sub region. Proper utilization of funds from the petroleum industry has been a thorny issue since the discovery of oil in 2006.
According to Muntu, though there are laws and policies on oil revenues should be utilize, it requires integrity and discipline to strictly comply with the laws and policies.
Already, there are serious from different stakeholders over the management of petroleum revenues. Since its establishment in 2015, government has withdrawn colossal sums of money to finance budget deficits. For instance, last year, civil society organizations under their umbrella, Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), asked parliament to amend the Public Finance Management Act, 2015 to introduce a cap of how much Government can withdraw from the Petroleum Fund in a financial year as a measure to tame government uncontrolled withdrawals.
“The way things are, there is no evidence that the oil money has gone into infrastructure development,” Julius Mukunda, the Executive Director, CSBAG told journalists last year.
Similarly, the Budget Committee of Parliament in the report for last year, also cautioned government to control its appetite for resources from the Petroleum Fund. Similarly, the Budget Committee of Parliament in the report for last year, also cautioned government to control its appetite for resources from the Petroleum Fund.
For instance, in November, 2017, Government withdrew Shs125.6 billion from the Fund to finance the budget for the financial year 2017/2018. Again, Government withdrew Shs200 billion from the Petroleum Fund to the Consolidated Fund to finance the budget of financial year 2018/2019 and lastly, Shs225 billion to finance the budget for financial year 2019/2020 out of Shs445 bn Government had anticipated to withdraw. It is these uncontrolled withdrawals that raises serious concerns on the future of the Fund and its mandate.
Not Museveni’s oil
Gen Muntu also lashed out at President Museveni for personalizing the oil and gas industry, arguing that is erroneous for the president to keep referring to oil as “my oil”. “This is not Gen Museveni’s oil, it is a national resource that must be utilized for the benefit of all Ugandans,” Muntu said.
He also lashed out at government for the secrecy that shrouds the petroleum industry. “We all don’t know what is happening in the oil industry, because it [industry] has been kept secret. Oil is a national resource and not for an individual. We all need to know how oil is going to be refined, how benefits will be shared and most important, how revenues will be utilized,” Muntu said.
Other than promises of proper utilization of petroleum revenues, Muntu did not make any alternative policy proposals on the management of the petroleum industry. “I will lead a team of disciplined men and women and we shall put this country back on truck,” he said.