UPC on Natural Resources
Extracted from the UPC manifesto
Uganda is blessed with fertile arable land so vital for agriculture, minerals and forests, which are increasingly playing a significant role in our economy.
Unfortunately, under the National Resistance Movement, government some citizens have been deprived of their land rights without any or adequate compensation. UPC will develop policies for effective and optimal utilisation of land resources for economic development.
The Uganda Land Commission and the District Land Boards will be restructured to make them responsive to the needs of the people. The Land Registry will be modernised with the technology to ensure efficiency in handling and safeguarding people's title deeds. UPC will review all land transactions with a view to giving redress to those whose land rights have been violated.
UPC will review the setup of land tribunals all over the country and ensure that land disputes are adjudicated upon expeditiously and justly. Clean water Access to clean water is a basic human right. Uganda is well endowed with water resources and availability of sufficient quantities of clean, dependable and affordable water will not only improve the health of the people but also promote and facilitate economic activities based on agriculture, livestock and industry. Currently National Water and Sewerage Corporation effectively operates in only 16 towns.
This translates into coverage of 26.6 per cent of major urban centres given that there are now almost 72 districts in Uganda. This would contradict the present administration's claim that urban water coverage is 65 per cent while the rural water coverage is 57.2 per cent.
To ensure the provision of adequate, clean water, UPC will:
- Prioritise rehabilitation and construction of water supply to vital establishments including hospitals, schools and public institutions,
- Establish an authority to manage and supervise water harvesting through damming, boreholes and irrigation infrastructure for agriculture, fish farming, animal and human consumption,
- Mobilise resources and technical assistance to exploit water resources,
- Put in place mechanisms to harness and utilise rainwater and
- Construct deep boreholes fitted with windmills to supply villages with clean water.
UPC regards mining as an important component in the regeneration of our economy. We shall strengthen the relevant organs in government involved in the industry so that they are better equipped to undertake their supervisory and monitoring roles.
UPC government shall encourage private sector investment, especially foreign investors with solid experience, in the mining sub-sector and will pursue a policy of value-addition to our mineral exports aimed at minimising Uganda's exposure to fluctuation in world prices that usually afflict raw mineral exports. We shall encourage and support establishment of industries that use our industrial minerals as inputs.
We shall review and streamline structures and mechanisms for awarding of mining rights as well as the relevant mining laws to ensure equity and an attractive environment to both the investors and the local communities. UPC shall institute special programmes for the promotion and support of small-scale mining enterprises.
Although Uganda is well endowed with vast natural resources of hydropower with estimated potential of over 2,000 MW, there is a serious energy crisis in the country, mainly as a result of greed, corruption and faulty planning within the NRM establishment. The energy sector has been and is characterised by:
- Unreliable and intermittent power supply causing destructive power fluctuations and frequent power cuts which have negatively impacted on the competitiveness of manufacturers.
- High tariffs, which have driven poor members of society to using firewood and charcoal at the expense of forests and the environment.
- Wrong decisions leading to building the second dam (Kiira) at adjacent to the Owen Falls Power station.
- Indecision on the development of Bujagali and Karuma Dams.
At its current level of tariffs, extension of electricity to the rural areas is inconceivable and is therefore not a realistic proposition.
Meanwhile only approximately 7 percent of the total population has access to electricity. The UPC government will evolve a comprehensive policy on energy that will involve a national strategic plan for rural electrification with a combination of hydro, thermal, solar and wind energy.
UPC shall re-examine the cost build-up of electricity tariffs keeping in view the divestiture of UEB and concession protocols and procedures as well as management and operational efficiencies and in consultation with all stakeholders pursue policies that ensure that the electricity distributors and generators will provide affordable and reliable power.
UPC government will review the developments in respect of the proposed Karuma and Bujagali dams and if found satisfactory, implement the simultaneous development of both projects.
In collaboration with appropriate technology providers, we shall support biogas and biomass energy systems in communities, which provide natural basic raw material or have comparative advantages.
In the petroleum sub-sector, UPC will promote, support and closely follow oil and natural gas exploration programmes in all possible sites and wells throughout the country and accelerate oil and gas production.