I think it will be difficult to prepare communities for the oil industry related benefits without the clear representation of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development at the Local Government level like other ministries.
Having a department at the district that directly feeds into the ministry of energy and mineral development would mean a lot to council deliberations as well as planning for sensitisation since it would have a budget no matter how big it could be.
There could be a committee for oil and gas since it is a sensitive and important sector capturing global attention.
I have attended the elective leaders’ sensitisation meeting and realised that time is now that investors are ready to inject money in our oil industry.
It is high time we bridged all the gaps likely to greatly hinder the participation of the local people in the oil industry hoped to transform the economy.
A clear linkage between the ministry of energy and mineral development and local governments is crucial to my opinion.
Every time we meet with officials from the central government on oil related engagements they tell to sensitise the communities about oil and gas not considering the issue of funding.
The Chief Administrative Officer connects with the ministry of local government, the Production and Marketing Officer feeds into the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries like other ministries unlike the one of energy and mineral development.
Who is their focal person in our local government set up? It is a gap to be bridged.
If we are to perform and help our people to appreciate the oil industry, we also need resources for mobilisation because like moving from point A to point B, making a phone call or a radio talk show necessitates money.
I, personally, appreciate the oil industry progress made so far and optimistic that it will help to transform the Albertine region and Uganda at large.
However, as long as local leaders only wait to be sensitised in workshops like other stakeholders, it will be difficult to get fruits.
Unfortunately, it might leave the local people at a disadvantage as the enlightened about the industry from elsewhere participate meaningfully in the industry.
This opinion is by Mr Jackson Mugenyi Mulindambura, the Hoima District Secretary for Production who elaborated from his submission at an engagement organised by Kitara Civil Society Network (KCSON) in partnership with CNNOC Uganda Limited in Hoima City.