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‘Ugandans not prepared for oil opportunities’

By Billy Rwothungeyo

Added 1st August 2017 08:21 AM

Workshops have been held to this effect, papers have been presented, but it seems very little headway is being made on the ground, if we are to go by the sentiments of Stan McBride, the Environment Manager of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline project.

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Stan McBride, the Environment Manager of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline project

Workshops have been held to this effect, papers have been presented, but it seems very little headway is being made on the ground, if we are to go by the sentiments of Stan McBride, the Environment Manager of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline project.

How can Ugandans position themselves to benefit from the opportunities arising from oil and gas activities in Uganda?

Workshops have been held to this effect, papers have been presented, but it seems very little headway is being made on the ground, if we are to go by the sentiments of Stan McBride, the Environment Manager of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline project.

Speaking at a dialogue and learning event on oil infrastructure organized by the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) on Monday  in Kampala, McBride said he was shocked that Ugandans are not doing enough to take advantage of the opportunities in the oil industry.

“I was involved in an upstream project, where we were importing food from Kenya, because they could not find anybody here (Uganda) that could supply frozen food,” he said.

“I could not believe; I just shook my head. I could not believe that Ugandans could fail to supply fresh food to the camp, unbelievable. There is no reason why Ugandans cannot supply food like mangoes, pineapples to these camps.”

Despite initiatives by authorities to encourage local participation by ring-facing certain services such as supply of foodstuffs to the oil camps, it is clear that Ugandans are woefully prepared, especially as activities start picking up ahead of 2020, when oil production is expected to commence.

Between now and 2020, work is going to start on critical infrastructure like the pipelines, storage facilities and the refinery. These projects will have workers, who will need food, where will the food that will feed these people come from? Uganda or China? Time will tell.

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