Escaping the Oil Curse and Making Poverty History: A Review of the Oil and Gas Policy and Legal Framework for Uganda
"The recent discovery of commercially viable oil deposits in the Abertine Graben region of Uganda (Lake Albert basin) raised hopes that the enormous revenues expected to accrue would make poverty history. At the same time however, the discovery has generated fear that the oil resources would turn out to be a curse rather than a blessing, especially if the anticipated revenues were not properly planned for and, more importantly, equitably and transparently utilized. Both the anticipation and the apprehension are well-founded. Examples abound are reviewed in this paper, of countries which struck oil and either immediately nose-dived into misery or at best continued to wallow in the mire of economic stagnation, unfavourable terms of trade, dependency, unemployment and the attendant social unrest just as they did in their inglorious pre-oil days. The purpose of this research paper is to inform the on-going National Oil and Gas Policy- making process by providing policy makers with alternative policy ideas and options, thus contributing to the development of a good policy for Uganda. In this paper, we argue that a people-centred and knowledge-driven oil and gas policy will ensure equity in benefit sharing, prudent utilisation of resources, avoidance of economic distortion or ‘Dutch Disease’ and associated conflicts, and enhancement of democratic governance and economic transformation."