Ugandan government agencies fight over oil reserves

Mar 07, 2008 01:00 AM

Three government agencies are fighting to take over Uganda's strategic oil reserve depots in Jinja.
Parliament heard that the Ministries of Defence and Finance as well as the Uganda Revenue Authority are fighting to take control of the depots from the Ministry of Energy. The Parliamentary committee on Natural Resources chaired by Mr Dombo Emmanuel (Bunyoli NRM) heard that all the three agencies have advanced reasons as to why they are better suited to control the strategic reserves in Jinja.

The senior Examiner of Accounts in the Auditor General's office Mr Frank Magala told MPs that: "Finance, Defence and URA are fighting to take charge of the reserves. They want to grab the management of the reserves from Energy, which we feel is not right."
Mr Magala told that those who are fighting to take over the control have no experience in fuel reserve management and therefore they should withdraw.
"It's the Ministry of Energy that has skills in oil management. URA and others have specialityin taxes, security and finances. This should be left to Energy," he said.

But State Minister for Defence Ruth Nankabirwa told that Defence is only helping in maintaining the security of the reserves. Mr Magala and the senior Principal Auditor, Mr Fixon Okenye were appearing before the committee to guide MPs on whether they can go ahead and approve government's Shs 45 bn to restock the oil reserves in Jinja.
Energy Minister Daudi Migereko recently tabled a request before the committee to approve Shs 45 bn to refill the national fuel reserve depots in Jinja. The government wants to restock 20 mm litres of diesel and 10 mm litres of petrol to fill the national fuel reserves. But MPs put the approval on halt after learning that the procurement process was full of flaws. Kenloyd, a private oil company, was awarded the tender.

MPs heard that 2.8 mm litres are available in the reserves located in Jinja and about 2.5 mm more in debts by private companies. The capacity of reserves is 30 mm litres. But in themeeting, Mr Okonye told MPs that the Auditor General's office cannot approve the Shs 45 bn because it is above government's supplementary ceiling.
In the same meeting the Executive Director of Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority, Mr Edgar Agaba told MPs that they have halted the process of procurement because it was full of flaws. He asked MPs not to approve the Shs 45 bn until investigations into awarding the tender to Kenloyd are complete and a report submitted.

Source / The Monitor
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