18 April 2017

Uganda: Hoima Leaders Dispute Oil Benefits

Photo: Daily Monitor
Workers undertake the first flaring test at the Waraga 1 well in Kaiso-Tonya in Hoima District (file photo).

Hoima — Leaders in the oil-rich Hoima District have disagreed with ministry of Energy officials over benefits accruing to communities hosting oil and gas developments.

Recently, a team from the ministry held an engagement meeting with the district leader briefing them on the status of national content in the petroleum sector.

Mr Edgar Tusingwire, the national content officer at the ministry, told the leaders that the oil industry had presented opportunities for farmers to supply food stuffs to oil workers.

Mr Tusingwire said government had ring-fenced some services in the industry for Ugandans.

He revealed that more than 200 government technocrats have been trained abroad in petroleum studies and 88 artisans had graduated at Uganda Petroleum Institute, in Kigumba.

"Government has developed a work skills development strategy and plan for the petroleum sector," he said.

However, the Hoima chief administrative officer, Mr Abdul Batambuze, noted that there are some developments that are being implemented in the oil areas without approval from the district which is a planning authority.

"Some companies built structures without approval. We have approached them politely to make corrections and they are responding positively," said Mr Batambuze.

Concerns

The district secretary of education and health, Mr Mugenyi Mulindambura, said communities hosting oil operations are disturbed by allegations that oil revenues were shared under a presidential handshake.

"How can we mobilise poor communities who are hearing that money generated out of a resource they are hosting is being eaten?" Mr Mulindambura asked.

He noted that majority of local companies have been sidelined by oil companies in favour of national firms.

However, in response Ms Gloria Sebikari, a senior communication officer in the petroleum directorate, defended that the Energy ministry involves districts and other stakeholders in all its activities and more engagements will be streamlined.

Ms Sebikari said after the confirmation of commercial oil deposits, government and oil firms have been able to forecast the demand of goods and services for the oil sector.

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