As Uganda races to meet its target of first oil output in 2025, local authorities have called for mobilization of host community participation as key stakeholders in the oil and gas production.
The call has been made by Kikuube District LC5 Chairperson, Peter Banura while meeting with locals at the district headquarters.
The LC Chairperson said that as one slops down the grand escarpment of Buhuka in Kyangwali Sub-County, Kikuube District, you are visibly welcomed by the spectacular Kingfisher oil rig advancing to the skies at the shores of Lake Albert.
“A new dawn has indeed set on this motherland, the journey to fast tracking the production of Oil by 2025 is truly being walked,” Banura said.
Banura said that with a population of about 443,752, refugees inclusive, the Kikuube district’s mission emphasizes the achievement of sustainable socio-economic development through efficient provision of quality services to its people in conformity with national and local priorities.
“Today, the oil development process at the up, middle and downstream supply chains are indubitably among the most significant national investments and thus, we indeed conform with this progress,” Banura told the locals.
Banura noted that there were lots of myths about this Oil resource and many a people doubted its existence, amidst multiple subversive campaigns which were disapproved with the spudding ceremony that was held on the 24th of January 2023 presided over by His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni congratulating all Ugandans upon their breakthrough.
“As the first stakeholders, it is imperative that the Oil Companies, China National Offshore Company (CNOOC) and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), establish a purposeful mechanism for sustainable community-company stakeholder engagements towards multi-sectoral support to these communities,” Banura said.
The district chairperson emphasized that the effective management of the expectations harnesses cordial relationships which accords the Oil Companies a social license to actualize the benefits of the exploration, production and distribution of the Oil resource for both short and long-term prospects.
“Yes, the production of Oil triggers infrastructure development in the area, creation of employment opportunities, support local entrepreneurship, technological transfer, creation of multi-sectoral forward and backward linkages, build competencies of skills among other potentialities. Yet, the process also exposes the host communities to health implications emanating from possible pollution of the air, water and land, resettlement of Project affected persons, etcetera,” Banura noted.
He explained that with proper mitigation strategies, all the negative externalities of the process can indeed be abated adding that, identifying other concerns of the first stakeholders is key in cushioning the likely negative impacts, building their momentum of ownership of operations and goodwill, which translates into affable co-existence hence guarantees a timely and productive Oil industry.
“It is my call to the Oil Companies to re-enforce long term partnerships with the people of Kikuube through the prioritization of local content strategy and policy intergration within the value chain of the production process. Activities that include compliance awareness and credit facilities for potential suppliers, affirmative policies in the recruitment to encourage local elites in the occupational structure and enhance both direct and indirect social and economic benefits to our people,” Banura noted.
He added that Oil companies should comprehensively designed Corporate Social Responsibility plans to aid host communities optimally benefit from multi-disciplinary onsite trainings, twinning programs, scholarship to the indigenous students, support to local entrepreneurs, extension of support to local health and sports campaigns.
“To the people of Kikuube, Bunyoro and Uganda at large, I beseech you to embrace a collaborative approach with the Oil production companies to maximize the benefits from the sector. Our resolute efforts to protect our oil resource is a patriotic mandate we must fulfill,” Banura emphasized.
Kikuube, the host of the Kingfisher Oil Project, located in Bunyoro Sub-region was curved out of Hoima District and fully operationalized in 2018.