Youth demand special sessions on oil and gas

Ms Jane Mbabazi Byaruhanga, the Manager for Environment at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) during a stakeholders' engagement.

The youths in Bunyoro are demanding the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) and the oil conglomerates including Total E&P Uganda, Oranto Petroleum, Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) and the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to share special information packages to prepare the youths for opportunities in the oil and gas industry.

They want information that directly touches their needs considering their social and economic status.

In an in-depth interview with some youths after an engagement with some of those key oil industry players, the youths appreciate the shared information but believe that more is needed especially at this time the Final Investment Decision is about to be made.

Brian Nahamya, the Programme Associate at the Global Rights Alert (GRA) proposes spreading out the youths engagements to sub-county and village levels and to have deliberations in local languages to get audience of non-elites.

Audio: Nahamya on engagements (English)

In Uganda, the youth portion 77% of the national population and are the majority on the consumer and job market statistics.

Ms Priscilla Tusiime notes the need to sensitise female youths about compensation issues saying they have been the major victims when men make off with new spouses or share the whole compensation with only one or two of the wives for polygamists.

She adds that sensitising the female youths about the law on marriage and how compensation works is paramount as way forward.

Meanwhile, Ms Barbara Kemigisa, an HIV activist, wants extension of youth mobilisaiton activities to the entire Albertine region instead of meeting in Hoima city only so they can face the world similarly.

She stresses that issues to do with awareness like on HIV/AIDS and other diseases conducted by CNOOC Uganda Limited through Kitara Development Initiative (KITADI) in Kyangwali sub-county is important to all the youth in Bunyoro.

Audio: Kemigisa on mobilisation (English)

However, in response to their voices, Mr David Kagoro, the Community Relations Officer for CNOOC Uganda Limited challenged the youths to be inquisitive and search for information about the oil and gas industry in their area.

According to him, most of the information is online and response mechanisms are in place in case one wants clarification.

“Much as we remain ready to incorporate your views, it is important that you also move to search for information because things keep unchanging as days pass,” said Mr Kagoro.

China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC’s) Community Relations Officer, David Kagoro presents alongside Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC’s) Community Relations Officer, Sandra Owobusobozi.

Mr Faith Muhumuza, the Officer In-charge of Stakeholders Engagements at the PAU said the authority already has plans to intensify outreaches through media and community dialogues to ensure that everybody gets the correct message and benefits from the industry.

He challenged the youths to register on the National Talent Register for jobs and on the National Supplier Database (NSD) for those with companies as a sure way of preparedness to participate in the oil industry.

“Be sure that everybody will benefit either directly or indirectly. Improve your agriculture, study vocational courses and get certified. You will have many changes to meaningfully participate in the industry,” said Mr Muhumuza.

This was during an engagement in Hoima Oil City.

Government and oil companies have held education programmes including sponsored education at different levels in the past decade but the number seems to be less compared to the need given that Bunyoro is an area that has had no public university since Uganda became state.

Attending some courses like welding that result into international certification cost quite huge sums of money eliminating many families except through sponsorship which is always too competitive.

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