The Prime Minister for Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, Andrew Kirungi Byakutaga, has reiterated his call on development stakeholders in Uganda’s oil industry to consider intensifying efforts to mobilise the community to benefit from the oil and gas industry before it is too late.
According to him, there are gaps in providing timely information that could help the community to prepare themselves for the industry now moving into development stage and later production which might be too fast for the local persons in Bunyoro to catch up with and compete favourably.
On the side of kingdom subjects, the premier said everyone needs to pick interest in the industry with a positive attitude and strategise with the available information and be inquisitive and innovative if they are to meaningfully benefit from the resource discovered in their homeland.
Mr Byakutaaga also challenged the central government to take seriously the issue of timely, fair and adequate compensation saying that he is deeply concerned about delayed compensation complaints being raised by the kingdom subjects affected by different oil projects in Hoima and Buliisa districts.
However, he commended the government and the oil companies for community engagements so far evident.
Mr Byakutaga made the remarks at a multi-stakeholders’ engagement meeting on Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative (EITI) held at Hoima Resort Hotel in
Hoima City last week.
Ms Winnie Ngabirwe, the Executive Director of Global Rights Alert cum coordinator of Publish What You Pay (PYP) Uganda, said after joining the EITI, transparency is crucial that will absolutely help Ugandans to benefit from the oil and gas industry at different levels.
Ms Gloria Mugambe, the Head of EITI Secretariat (MSG) told Kazi-njema News that the central purpose of the engagement was to capture the views of different stakeholders for redress and harmonisation as the industry goes into a crucial stage as soon as the Final Investment Decision (FID) in Uganda’s oil industry is made.
Prof Julius Kiiza of Political Economy at Makerere University was not different from Bunyoro’s premier on intensifying sensitisation sessions for the local people to appreciate the virtues and shortcomings of the industry.
“It is now and not later that we need people to be kept updated on the oil industry. I can say that we have even delayed because people needed empowerment 10 years ago,” he said in a separate interview with Kazi-njema News after the engagement.
Mr John Vaitah Isingoma, the Executive Director for Kitara Development Initiative (KITADI) says fighting a negative attitude about the oil industry amongst the local people is vital for them to benefit from both direct and induced opportunities.
Mr Isingoma who is one of the local persons that have so far interacted with oil companies in business, observes that it is possible for every local person to benefit from the industry as long as they prepare with the will of duty bearers.
He identifies induced business opportunities and direct employment especially for the youths with vocational training like carpentry, welding and electrical engineering when development phase starts.