Mpigi — Mpigi District chairperson Peter Claver Mutuluza has questioned the rationale of naming a petroleum storage facility after Kampala yet the site is in Mpigi.
"We don't see any reason why they (government) suggested that a petroleum storage facility, which is deep in a village in Mpigi, be christened Kampala.
"It would be better if the project is named Mpigi or Kampala-Mpigi Storage Terminal so that the hosting communities feel a sense of ownership. Since it is a flagship project, it can as well help in promoting Mpigi District which is one of the oldest local governments, but unknown to many," Mr Mutuluza said.
Other local leaders in the district share a similar view.
Government technocrats named the petroleum storage facility as Kampala Storage Terminal (KST) but the local leaders insist the word Mpigi should be reflected in the name.
The local leaders say they have not been fully involved in all matters of the project.
Through the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), government has secured 299 acres of land at Namwambula Village in Mpigi where it intends to build the KST which will host a 60-million litre storage facility for petroleum products.
The proposed multi user storage terminal will serve as a distribution centre for petroleum products from the refinery in Hoima District to market centres in Kampala, western Kenya, northern Tanzania and Rwanda. It will also serve as a storage and distribution centre for imported petroleum products and delivery point for the planned Hoima-Kampala products pipeline and the planned Eldoret (Kenya )-Kampala(Uganda) products pipeline.
"Although the project has been on since 2008, the central government, has remained tight-lipped without engaging us even during the development of the project master plan. They left us as spectators and we read stories about the project in newspapers," Mr Mutuluza told Daily Monitor at the weekend.
He said the district authorities moved forward and partnered with Maendeleo ya Jamii, an NGO incorporated in Uganda and USA, which has been working in seven districts in the Albertine Graben since 2012, to advocate their participation in key oil projects.
However, Mr Mutuluza said the partnership has not yet yielded results.
Mr Sitenda Mugalu, the district physical planner, said if government had shared a copy of the project master plan with the district, it would have enabled them to make action plans for the surrounding areas.
He singled out issues concerning construction and road infrastructure which the district might need to address in line with the project master plan.
"When such projects are put up in an area, there is a given radius in which some activities may not take place. If they (government) provided us with their master plan, we could have integrated it with our physical development plans and ensure proper planning ,which is not the case now," Mr Mugalu said.
His counterpart, Mr Ronald Kazibwe, the district commercial officer, told Daily Monitor that the central government should highlight a number of supplies which can be sourced locally from the residents so that they start sensitising them on what they should expect from the project when it kicks off.
However, Mr Gershom Rwakasanga, the terminal development operations manager at UNOC, allayed fears of local leaders. He said all their issues can still be addressed if they formally petition the line ministry.
Proposing a name
"On the issue of the proposed name of the project, the district council is free to forward council minutes to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development with the proposed name of the project which can later be considered if authorities find it necessary," he sayid
According to Mr Rwakasanga, more than 1,000 support staff from Mpigi District will be employed in the project and Nakirebe-Buyala road will be upgraded to bitumen as benefits of hosting the project in the area.
Mr Steven Sherura Bainenaama, an official in the midstream petroleum department of Ministry of Energy, said the ministry and UNOC will find means of sharing the master plan with Mpigi District officials. He said where it's deemed necessary, a few adjustments will be made.
"Due to the fact that the master plan cost government a lot of money and time, the district shouldn't expect to make any major changes," he said.
The planned storage terminal is also expected to serve as the starting point for the planned Kampala -Kigali products pipeline.