After signing crucial oil agreements to facilitate the development of the major projects that will end into oil production, CNOOC Uganda Limited has intensified engagements with stakeholders to ensure meaningful community participation in oil developments.
The Chinese oil giant has contracted Kitara Civil Society Network (KCSON) to spearhead a fresh sensitisation campaign aimed at bringing all community members on board starting with leaders in their project host areas.
During their engagement with Hoima district elective leaders at Hoima Resort Hotel on Monday (yesterday), Mr Godwin Muhangi, the Community Liaison Officer (CLO), CNOOC Uganda Limited urged leaders to prepare themselves and the community members because developments that will open thousands of opportunities are around the corner.
According to him, preparation should involve acquisition of technical and vocational skills including plumbers, welders and builders who will be much needed during infrastructural development.
The feeder pipelines and Central Processing Facility (CPF) establishment are among the key projects under the Kingfisher Area.
“We are moving into a phase where investment will be made without hesitations because the ground is legally leveled for it. It is high time everyone got prepared by improving whatever they are doing to gain either from direct or indirect benefits”, said Mr Muhangi.
During their interactions, Ms Judith Nyangoma, the female councillor for Buhanika sub-county, requested CNOOC to start considering sub-counties away from their host ones for every sensitisation campaign since they remain with a lot in common.
She also requested oil companies and government to increase opportunities that target women and girls since most of them may not embrace certain trainings like heavy machine operation.
Speaking on behalf of the Hoima District Chairman, Mr John Kwemara, the district councillor for Kusukuma sub-county highlighted the need for extra efforts in community sensitisation to help them meet the needs of the rising standard and cost of living as land becomes too precious.
Mr Jackson Mugenyi Mulindambura, the Hoima District Secretary for Production, implored stakeholders to ensure that they satisfy the need for the local people to decentralise petroleum activities like it is with other sectors including agriculture and fisheries.
“It is the sure way of bridging the current gaps in sensitisation and creating a clear connection of the industry with the local people to ensure their meaningful participation”, he said.
Mr Paul Mulindwa, the Executive Director for Kitara Civil Society Network (KCSON), expressed commitment to conduct meaningful sensitisation campaigns within his mandate as per the contract with CNOOC Uganda Limited to ensure that the industry runs smoothly.
He said sensitisation will be taken to sub-county, parish and village levels engaging both leaders and communities separately and sometimes together.
They will also meet with Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom leaders to inform them of the latest on oil and gas as well as their role to prepare the kingdom for the oil and gas opportunities.
They had finished a similar engagement with Kikuube district leaders last week.
The training was facilitated by Mr Robert Byaruhanga, the Oil and Gas Consultant who focused on local content and environment alongside Mr Francis Tumwesige – a lawyer who focused on the oil and gas law.
Alongside KCSON, CNOOC has engaged other local companies in different fields of sensitisation including HIV/AIDS, non-communicable diseases, road safety and sanitation and hygiene.
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