More than 1,000 workers at Hoima International Airport construction site will have lost jobs by February 2023 when the first phase of the project will be complete.
An aggregate 98.5% of them are Ugandans including 40% sourced from the oil project host communities of Bunyoro region, according to the contractor.
Some have been there since January 2018 when the project started.
This was revealed during a national media tour to the oil projects of Tilenga, Kingfisher and Hoima International Airport organised by CNOOC Uganda Limited in collaboration with the joint venture partners of Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), TotalEnergies EP Uganda along with the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
While at Hoima International Airport construction site, Mr Amos Muriisa, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) for SBC Uganda Limited-the project contractor said at 80% project completion, they start preparing the workers for the possible life without a monthly pay and redundancy if other opportunities delay.
The employees have been engaged in different works including earth works that involve cut and fill, laboratory section; and concrete section that involves building of structures; the quarry section, workshop section and administration.
Others include drivers and truck operators.
While divulging in a separate interview with Kazi-njema News, Mr Muriisa said the labour force will be downsized in phases depending on individual relevance until the end time of the project in February next year which will most likely be met basing on the current progress.
According to him, as per the company employment policy, sensitisation packages ahead of demobilisation include promoting the culture of saving, looking out for other projects that need their experience in the region and beyond as well as giving hope that in case SBC gets another project they will be called back.
Aside from that, Mr Muriisa said that SBC has submitted the data of all employees to the respective District Labour Officers to ensure that they are contacted as first priority as soon as others appear.
He added that the company has even submitted the names of employees to the PAU to be uploaded on the National Talent Register for visibility in case of any opportunities.
Mr Robert Mukondo, the UNOC Community Relations Officer (CLO), said that attaining a skill and experience should be taken as the most important because in the oil and gas industry, projects will always come and end and as others surface sooner or later.
According to him, the first phase of the airport construction is to allow air lifting of equipment to facilitate the construction of other facilities including the industrial park, the oil refinery, Pump Station 1 for crude oil gathering before channelling for refining or exportation which will all bring opportunities.
“All those will need workers who have experience but once one has a skill, opportunities are not limited to the airport construction or refinery land even in the oil and gas industry,” he said.
Persons with experience in the oil industry employment opportunities emphasise the culture of spending wisely and saving because issues of downsizing and project completion are inevitable.
Officials say some people lose jobs when the project ends and they end up with nothing to show and not sure of when and whether the next project will come and take them up.
The youths are normally up-taken by the standards of the oil companies and contractors forgetting about their roots and the need to invest within their confines.