By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: All is not well at the National Oil Company, which is a statutory entity mandated to manage Uganda’s oil resources.
News has just reached this website that Dr. Josephine Wapakabulo, who was recently appointed as the Executive Director of the National Oil Company (NOC), has resigned this afternoon. In a letter dated May 13, 2019, addressed to the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) Board chairman Emmanuel Katongole, Wapakabulo writes that she intends to leave office 13 August 2019. That will be precisely three years ever since she assumed the role.
UNOC’s role is to handle the government’s commercial interests in the petroleum sector and to ensure that the resource is exploited in a sustainable manner. UNOC also aims at increasing participation of Ugandans in the oil and gas sector through employment and provision of goods and services.However, Wapakabulo in a message on the UNOC website, promises to help the company play “across the petroleum value-chain and plans to grow into an oil and gas entity with both local and international presence.” I am very proud of what I have been able to achieve since I was recruited as the first employee and CEO on August 1, 2016. I am most proud of the hard-working, smart and skilled Ugandans we have employed at UNOC,” she writes, adding that;”The time has come for me to focus on my family and new opportunities.” However, business analysts contend that her resignation will be a major setback in Uganda’s journey to the production and commercialization of the oil resource.
This is because her quitting comes at a time when the key milestones in the sector have not been achieved. Uganda has not constructed the pipeline and the refinery and the country is yet to see the first oil from the ground. Wapakabulo was meant to oversee these key elements using her expertise. This is because she was appointed because of her vast experience in oil exploration. Wapakabulo has more than 18 years’ professional experience in multinational companies in various sectors including Oil & Gas, Defence, Aerospace and IT consulting, according to a profile on the UNOC website. She is also a chartered engineer and holds a Ph.D. in Information Science focused on big data.