Post: Panel Discussion: Energy & Natural Resources, Real Estate…at the 3rd UK Convention

Panel Discussion: Energy & Natural Resources, Real Estate…at the 3rd UK Convention

An overview on opportunities in Energy, Real Estate sector, Housing and Construction and infrustructure. Specific discussion on Land acquisition | Development costs | Finance Availability | Urban vs Rural Project Economics | Priority PPP Infrastructure Projects

The session was moderated by Ambassador Wanume Kibedi Zaake, Denmark and the Nordic Countries and panelists included: Hon. Eng. Irene Muloni, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Sam Engola, Minister of State for Housing, Sebaggala M. Kigozi, Executive Director, UMA, Mrs Janet Mukiibi, KK Advocates and Roland Sebuwufu, CEO Buganda Investment.

Hon Muloni, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development started by thanking Patrick Bitature for the highlights in his presentation on mineral and energy opportunities in Uganda. We can’t talk about investment without finding a solution to the challenges of infrastructure,  energy. These are fundamentals and we need energy which is an engine for development. Energy to give you the power to drive the economy and Uganda is endowed by natural resources in plenty and it is your opportunity to harness those natural resources. Transforming them into goods and services so that we transform Uganda from where we are to a first country a few to come.
Hon. Muloni thanked the great leadership especially of HE Museveni for his visionary leadership, his focus which even highlighted especially focusing on what matters that is going to transform Uganda into a first world country. Right now we have confirmed 3.5 billion barrels of  crude oil. It is intended to refine and add a value to it to meet our country need in terms of petroleum products and serve the needs of East African market and then look beyond the outside world.

The government has now put new laws for the upstream and mid-stream and  is now trying to create a petroleum authority that is going to regulate the sector and also a national oil company that is going to take care of the commercial aspects of business on behalf of the country. Already three international companies are licensed; CNOOC (China) , Tullow (UK)  and Total (France) and all these are on the ground  working out development plans to start production. Within the next two years we could start producing oil and refining and going to be in a phased manner and expecting to produce about 30,000 barrels to 60,000 and later as exploration and production  might be stepped up to 120,000 barrels.

And the entire value chain of petroleum exploration brings a lot of opportunities right  from exploration where areas will be demarcated into blocks to welcome potential investors to bid for them competitively to join the exploration process. Logistics, facilities and services presents huge opportunities. Local content is encouraged as Ugandans into the sector. Despite the fact that all these involve huge investment capital but if you will be able to participate through joint ventures you will be able to participate in any of the opportunities in the value chain. Energy since the commissioning of Bujagali, load shedding is an issue of the past since we have enough energy to sustain Uganda but because of this development, the economy is growing very fast and many businesses are coming up and all require electricity, so the demand is growing so fast.

And plans are needed to increase the energy generation capacity, this presents opportunities in alternative renewable energy which ranges from hydro, solar, geo-thermal, wind and biomass  all these are potential with government guarantee to buy all generated power to the national grid as there is a feeding tariff that has been structured by the regulator, this gives an idea of what is the cost of electricity that you are going to sell to the national grid.
Various sites for hydro power generation are available for investors and the regulator has a compiled list of these sites with feasibility studies already done.

Minerals is another area and so far Uganda has discovered about 13 metal minerals and 17 industrial minerals across the country. Geo data is available and has been  carried out to about 80% of the country and readily available and the 20% which is in Karamoja are in the process of being surveyed. Investors are encouraged to invest in processes that add a value to minerals before they are exported out of the country.
Uganda new laws recognises local investors, emphasising that 48% of shares in any company that is investing into the petroleum must be Ugandan and opportunities within the value chain priority will be given to Ugandans companies with capacity. And this is an effort to ensure that all Ugandans are part and partial of the development process in harnessing these resources and take full advantage of the opportunities that exist back home.

Diasporans are encouraged to take advantage in order to transform Uganda into a middle income earning group.
Hon. Muloni invited investors to try Uganda as they are numerous opportunities. She assured that the legal, institutional and regulatory frameworks are all in place. Uganda is stable and your investment is guaranteed and the return on investment is very high comparing to other countries.

Hon Sam Engola, Minister of State for Housing highlighted the shortfall of 1.2 million houses. he invited investors to come to Uganda and  introduce new and affordable housing technology. Technology is now key to fill the gap of deficit. In 1962 Uganda had a population of 5 million and now we are over 33 million people and we are not gaining any more land and there is a need to start developing vertically as Patrick Bitature advised in order to utilise the vertical free space.

Uganda has new districts which all needs houses for its staff, the army, police, prison, health and civil servants all needs new houses. The government has new private partnership arrangements which investors can take advantage where the government can come in as partners and provide land and together you can invest.

The price for property in Uganda is liberalised and the returns are very attractive though the government is putting up measures to mitigate price hyping.

New opportunities at Karuma for new 50,000 houses to house people in the new proposed city and the hydro-power plant will attract a lot of service providers in the area.

Sebaggala M. Kigozi, Executive Director, UMA stressed the importance of industries in our lives because whatever we use is from the industry sector. Uganda industry sector is still virgin. Statistics shows that 75% of what we use domestically is imported. This shows the vast opportunities for the manufacturing sector. Further he said that existing factories in other industries besides water, sugar are producing under capacity to about 30% and the 70% and over are opportunities. Opportunities to partner with existing established companies can be the best market entry into Uganda as it poses little risk to your investment Kigozi added. Finally advised Ugandans Diasporans to start small and grow bigger once gains market confidence.

Janet Mukiibi, KK Advocates is one of the Diasporans that recently returned to Uganda and was one of the first team that organised the first convention whose main objective was to harness the potential of Ugandans in the Diaspora. It was on this basis that Janet decided to go back home and now practices at KK Advocates. Janet is a corporate lawyers handling large transaction investment and advise on most of the biggest investors into Uganda. Merge and acquisition, finance and banking and general litigation are some of the services that she advises on. Janet advised investors to do their due-diligence and seek legal advice before making final investment decision.

Janet advised Diasporans that the way to go is to return to Uganda. There is so much you can do in Uganda and as a country is wide open with full of opportunities. With the exposure, knowledge, skills of people in the Diaspora you can achieve much.

Sebuwufu Roland, CEO of Buganda Investments and Commercial Undertakings Limited (BICUL), a Holding company of Buganda Kingdom. Land is the key element in investment and as Buganda Kingdom the greatest asset we have is the land. Closely  Buganda work with the central government’s agencies like Uganda Investment Authority, the Ministry of land to cater for the needs of investors to avail land for various development projects. The Kingdom of Buganda has strategic plans to attract investment in the residential and commercial real estate. Uganda has a huge deficit in housing units. Also the kingdom is seeking investors in commercialised agriculture, natural resources value addition and mining.

The Kingdom embraces partnership arrangements like the private public partnerships and equity sharing models and all welcome to partner with the Kingdom.

John Doe
John Doe

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