By Julius Tumukunde based in USA: The National Unity Platfor presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine might not have been declared the winner of the January presidential election but this has never stopped him from scoring especially against his main opponent.
His scores, despite not getting all the attention they deserve are of a bigger magnitude than the so called swearing-in where most of focus seem to be.
One of such scores is two weeks back the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija presented a Shs41.2trillion National Budget for the 2021/22 FY.
He pointed out the Oil Fund as one of the sources where he was to draw money to fund the budget. This revelation came four days after Total had made the final investment decision to build a 1,443-kilometer (897-mile) heated pipeline to transport Uganda’s waxy crude for export at the port of Tanga in Tanzania. It announced it was to invest $5billion (about Shs18trillion) into the project.
However, Uganda received its worst news this week when three largest French banks, BNP Paribas, Société Générale and Crédit Agricole announced they will not be financing the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
This brings to six the total number of banks that have publicly stated their decision to avoid backing the pipeline.
To some Ugandans, this does not come as a surprise. The US announced this month it had imposed visa restrictions on officials of the Government of Uganda who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Uganda, including during the 14 January, 2021 general elections and the campaign period that preceded it. It described the whole electoral process as neither free nor fair following reports of the harassment of opposition candidates, deaths of and injuries to opposition supporters, as well as violence against journalists.
It added it was to follow up on the visa restrictions with stronger measures as well. These measures will not only weaken the country’s economy but also Museveni’s govt. This is a big score for Bobi Wine.
According to reports from the US, part of these measures are to severe relations with any country that works with the Ugandan government or banks that conduct any transaction with it.
These are the same sanctions that the EU parliament had earlier called for. It thus wouldn’t surprise me if it turned out the refusal by French Banks to fund the EACOP is part of these sanctions.
One thing that remains clear though is their refusal is a huge blow not only to govt which had hoped to draw Shs200billion from the Oil fund but also to the project which has stalled for 15 years.
Uganda first considered the prospect of becoming an oil producer as long ago as 2006, when the first commercial discoveries were made by Tullow Oil Plc.
The London-based explorer had hoped to begin exports as early as 2015, but ultimately sold its stake in the fields. Delays have plagued the development, ranging from changing the path of the pipeline to reaching an agreement with the government over tax issues.