Mar 2023 – May 2023
Peter Bintu is the Enterprise Development Officer at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda based at it’s head office in Entebbe, Uganda.
He was born and raised in Kampala, Uganda and graduated from Makerere University with a Bachelor of Statistics Degree. Peter went on to pursue a Masters in Finance and Control in 2011 and a further Masters in Business Administration (International Business) in 2016 from Amity University, India.
Prior to his current role he has worked in banking and in other arms of the public sector. He is results driven, detail oriented and making a difference is important to him.
AGN; In your own words ‘you have a zeal for excellence that pushes you to continuously improve your performance’. Can you put your finger on when you realized that is part of your nature and where do you feel such a drive comes from?
PB;I think the genesis is very much my mother. She worked as a ‘Domestic Bursar’ and was not shy of going above and beyond what was expected. She told me that in life you can just do what is expected but you may always be mediocre, however, if you consistently exceed expectations you will stand out and that is what will set you apart.
The mindset she instilled in me has helped me to gain promotion fairly quickly in a number of roles I have undertaken.
AGN; Many feel it is important to fulfil one’s purpose. Are you of a similar mindset and if so what do you feel your purpose is?
PB; I think my purpose is to try and enhance the quality of life of those who are not easy to reach.
In my first job in banking performance was measured by the growth of one’s team personally and collectively. This experience further strengthened my desire to help people. I love mentoring people and I am happy to do so free of charge when I can. I love seeing people grow and achieve their objectives.
AGN; Similarly we find that increasingly ‘legacy’ is also important. Is this important to you and if so what legacy do you wish to leave?
PB; I think legacy is very important. I want to leave a legacy of making things easier in the formal sector/within my sphere of operations as a whole for all stakeholders. Simplifying and streamlining processes is crucial to increasing efficiency and boosting productivity.
AGN; After graduating your spent around 3 years in banking before focusing your efforts elsewhere. Why did you decide to move away from banking?
PB; Banking was interesting and I grew very quickly within it. I was head of department by around my mid twenties however, to move to the next level I had to be around the age of 35 and this would have necessitated staying in the same role for around a decade. This didn’t appeal to me, plus I like a new challenge so when the opportunity came to work within the public sector I took it.
AGN: How would you describe your upbringing and who really inspired you as a child?
PB; I wouldn’t say my upbringing was particularly hard but in some ways it was challenging, especially because of my asthmatic condition. It limited me in so many ways, e.g. limiting my choice of schools so as to rule out those much further away. I have a very large family with approximately sixty siblings. My father was a busy man in every sense of the word. I graduated with seven of my siblings at the same time.
I think my greatest influence as a child was my mother. Not only was I asthmatic but I was generally sickly as a child. I was allergic to animal proteins and was not supposed to play sports. However, my mother instilled a strong sense of self-belief in me. She was always very encouraging and would say people haven’t expected you to get this far but you have, keep going.
AGN; Can you share a vivid memory from your childhood about something you felt was not right, which acted as a catalyst, instilling a burning desire within you to bring about change?
PB; I used to play soccer and was supposed to be playing an important game but unfortunately I was attacked a few hours before the game. The football pitch was fairly far away but my friends carried me to the game. I was able to get dressed and play a bit of the game before friends carried me to hospital. My mother had instilled in me the value that if you give your word you must see it through, even if no one else knows you have committed to doing something and things get challenging, you must attend to that which you have told yourself you will do.
This situation was one of mixed feelings for my mother. She was not happy that I had put myself at further risk but she was proud that I had stuck to my word despite the adversity I faced.
AGN; You volunteered for the Red Cross supporting relief activities in areas with people disadvantaged by natural disasters. Why did you do so?
PB; Doing so was a vehicle to help me develop some skills before I commenced paid work but while there I realized there was a lot of need. The way people in difficult situations would welcome support or light up when they were given items in some way left an impression on me.
I realized that what people like me take for granted can mean a lot in the lives of people that don’t have much. It has compelled me to keep striving to make a difference in the lives of others less fortunate.
AGN; What do you like to do in your spare time?
PB; At present a lot of my spare time is spent networking and engaging with small business owners. I like to help businesses develop processes, automate workflows and so on so as to enable them be more productive. When not doing this I enjoy playing basketball and catching up with friends and family.
AGN: Do you have any talents or skills that you previously fantasized (perhaps you still do) utilizing to earn an income and perhaps also make a name for yourself?
PB; I wouldn’t say I have a creative or athletic talent/ability. From a very early age maths used to come easiest to me. I did well in maths in comparison to other subjects.
I seem to be able to see trends and patterns in data sets that others may not see and draw valuable insights which add value to business owners and support their strategic development.
AGN; African Global Networks has a discussion forum and on it I posed the question ‘Do you feel African peoples utilize their diversity well’. Respondents unanimously expressed a negative view. What is your take on this?
PB; In my opinion we as Africans have not utilized our diversity well and I feel there are many ways in which we could do better. It appears we don’t leverage each other’s strengths nearly as much as we could to be able to quickly scale our business operations.
Many of us tend to prefer to compete more than to collaborate yet there are scenarios where it would bring a lot more benefit if we leveraged each other’s differences.
AGN; Do you feel a more inclusive, open and equitable Africa should be left mainly to politicians and civil society to spearhead or is there an argument for African nationals to also be more open to engaging with other Africans constructively in different parts of the continent irrespective of differences?
PB; I think nationals of countries across the world need to be at the forefront of engagements with other Africans all over the globe so as to learn from each other and collaborate because many of us face similar challenges and if we learn from each other and leverage each other’s advances in technology and skills, we will be able to reduce the reliance on governments/foreign aid to solve many of our pressing issues.
Africans now have the skills, know-how and expertise to solve many of our challenges and just need an opportunity to make a difference. This can be achieved by each of us actively engaging with a cross section of other Africans from around the continent and the world in general.
AGN; You work in the oil and gas sector. How well do you feel Uganda has managed this resource in light of how disruptive exploration and extraction can be to local communities?
PB; I think Uganda has been exemplary in the management of its oil and gas resources in that there is a very strong legal/regulatory framework in place to guide operations within the sector. The regulation of the sector has ensured that nationals and especially those in local communities benefit from the sector.
Measures have been put in place to mitigate risks related to exploration and extraction of oil and gas; for example there around 16 sub-sectors that have been ring-fenced for Ugandan enterprises and priority is always given to Ugandan firms where procurement is concerned.
Similarly, the majority of jobs to be created in the sector (above 80%) will go to nationals because a lot of effort has gone into building the capacity of Ugandans and Ugandan enterprises so that they participate in the sector and maximize the national and community workforce.
AGN; In light of the increasing embrace of renewables what sort of long term role (if any) do you see oil and gas playing in Uganda’s energy mix?
PB; I believe that oil and gas will play a key role in Uganda’s energy mix for years to come because a large section of Uganda is still reliant on firewood for cooking which has accelerated deforestation.
I am hopeful that the emerging oil and gas sector will provide a better alternative until such a time as when renewable energy can meet the overwhelming majority of our needs while being deployed in a way that is easily accessible/affordable for the average Ugandan.
AGN; Your current position is that of an ‘Enterprise Development Officer’. In a nutshell what do you actually do?
PB; My core role is to build the capacity of Ugandan enterprises to enable them participate in Uganda’s oil and gas sector thus maximizing value retention from sector related projects and specifically, we identify and implement projects to close the capacity gaps that hinder Ugandan companies from winning contracts in the sector. Capacity building efforts are usually sub-sector and region specific.
In line with the above, we participate in supplier development workshops during which upcoming opportunities are shared and we support the creation of joint ventures between Ugandan firms and foreign firms as a way of enhancing skills and technology transfer to Ugandans.
AGN; Is there anything you would like to add?
PB; I would like to thank you for enabling me share my outlook and views here and I would like to use this opportunity to call on all Africans to strive to leverage each others differences and strengths through partnerships so that we can grow and achieve goals collectively.
Previous ‘Personal Profile’ interviews are available here; archive
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on behalf of African Global Networks (AGN) - Mar 2023