- Ugandan President has maintained his country's adamancy to refine oil into finished products -kerosene, diesel and petroleum - to meet domestic need, assuring that no singe "drip of crude oil" would be exported. President Yoweri Museveni said crude oil export slowed down the pace of oil-producing economies.
Mr. Museveni, who delivered the comments while opening the Business Forum of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in the Kampala on Monday, also asked other oil-producing member states of the OIC to follow his example for economic reasons.
"If you process a barrel of crude oil. I can say without doubt you will get more money," he said, comparing the oil-rich South Arabia's Gross Domestic Product of some US $500 billion to Japan's some US $4.2 trillion.
In October 2006, President Museveni used the national thanks-giving service to inform Ugandans about the discovery of oil near Lake Albert, western Uganda. International oil companies estimated a daily flow of 16,000 barrels of crude oil in the area. The Museveni government planned to begin commercial production of oil next year.
Ugandan leader added that exploration of finished product would save poor countries from exporting raw materials to the developed countries.
The three-day forum whose theme is "Discover the resources and high potential of the African market" is being attended by more than 800 business people from the 57 OIC member countries.
The search for Uganda's oil, which cost companies at least US $70 million, paid its worth following the discovery of oil blocks in western region - Waranga 1, Waranga 2 and Mputa.
Most African countries, especially Nigeria, have been faced with huge challenges of improving the living and economic conditions of their people with oil proceeds, as huge sums are diverted by corrupt officials.
Mr Museveni described oil as a "blessing for Uganda" and thanked God for at last "turning successive layers of buried vegetation itno crude pertoleum of good quality."
"Secondly, we thank God that he has given us the wisdom and foresight to develop the capacity to discover this oil while all the previous efforts had failed," Museveni told the thanks-giving ceremony.
He pledged to use oil wealth to fund development projects in order to better the lives of Ugandans.
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