The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) is mobilising journalists and local leaders to promote meaningful participation of Uganda’s oil industry.
While speaking to journalists at an engagement in Hoima city this week, Gloria Sebikari, the Corporate Affairs Manager at PAU expressed optimism that media can go a long way towards moblising different categories of Ugandans to tap into the oil industry.
Ms Sebikari highlighted numerous opportunities being brought about by the oil industry ranging from scholarships, employment and business opportunities.
She noted the need for technical skills because more than 70 per cent of the opportunities require skills like welding, construction, heavy machine operation and mechanism.
To farmers, Ms Sebikari noted the construction of Hoima International Airport will play a big role towards exportation of agricultural produce as long as the farmers have improved their quality and quantity.
She lists a couple of private technical institutions that can prepare youths for jobs in the oil industry.
On the sources of information about the oil industry Ms Sebikari said they are active on social media platforms and ready to respond to any query.
She discourages unfair and biased reporting about the oil industry though she appreciates that a robust media cannot always appreciate.
The two day engagement that involved visit to the oil pads, Kabaale industrial park and the Tilenga Project area, saw the presence of media representatives from all the 10 districts along the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and the Albertine districts witnessing oil related development activities.
Mr Robert Mukondo who works with Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) under the Legal and Corporate Affairs Department said as a business arm of government in the oil industry, they are determined to promote the interests of Ugandans as they implement their mandate.
The journalists also visited the EACOP route off Kabaale industrial park, the Kingfisher oil pipeline route and the Tilenga Project area.
Mr Zakalia Lubega, the Corporate Affairs Manager at the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) called upon the media and District Information Officers to endeavour to contact their staff by every possible means in case of any comment.
Eng Edirisa Kwizera, the Total E&P Country Representative for the Tilenga Project appreciates that they are operating in fragile ecosystems around the Murchison Falls National Park and Lake Albert but assured the media that they have done all it takes to minimise the possible effects of the activities to the environment and people.
“I appreciate it is a fragile ecosystem but I can assure you that we take environmental and human safety as our priority”, he said.
Mr Ambrose Musasizi, a Daily Monitor correspondent for Rakai district told Kazi-njema News that he had learnt a lot on oil and gas during his first visit to the Albertine region which is hosting the major oil activities.
Leila Bbale, a News Editor at Spice FM noted that more of such media engagements are needed such that all journalists can understand the industry better and help to avoid questionable reporting and presentation about oil and gas.