The history of Uganda’s Oil sector and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) can not and will never be satisfactory complete without the name Fred Kabagambe Kaliisa.
Kaliisa is currently the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, which is known for silently building a professional and excellence culture especially in the oil and gas department, save for the criticism over the secrecy.
He is the core principle behind the premier Legislative arrangements including; Uganda Energy Policy 2002, The Petroleum Act, and The National Oil and Gas Policy, 2008. This clears doubt that perhaps Kaliisa tops the list of the most experienced and most knowledgeable Ugandans in the oil industry.
He has been at the Ministry for about 40 years and at the heart of the budding oil sector for at least 25 years
“I first came here [Energy ministry] as a young man from Makerere University and I have seen and taken a leading role in the development of the oil industry,” said in an interview with the Daily Monitor newspaper in 2011
Born in 1954 in the western district of Hoima, Kaliisa beat the odds to emerge on the graduation list of prestigious Makerere University in 1976, with Honours in Geology and Chemistry.
The year 1976 was a milestone for the young geologist. He discovered 12 million tonnes of gypsum, a mineral used in the making of cement in Semiliki. Three years later, he discovered 30 million tonnes of Marble in Moyo District.
Kaliisa in 1980 went to Australia for a post-graduate diploma in Mineral exploration. He also holds a Masters of Science in Petroleum Development Geology from Aberdeen University in United Kingdom. He is also a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
He successfully advocated for the deconstruction of the ministry to include the Directorate of petroleum in 2015 as a semi-autonomous an entity to support the ministry on the policy aspect of the gas sector.
“My happiest moment will be when I see our country getting and utilising the first spoils from our oil.” Kaliisa says