• Sun Jan 21 2018
  • Museveni to grace skilling forum on oil

Being a nascent industry in Uganda, oil exploitation remains heavily dependent on foreign expertise.
Vision Reporter
Journalist @ New vision
More than $10 billion (about sh36 trillion) is expected to be invested in Uganda even before a single barrel of oil is drilled from the ground.

PIC: Workers undertake the first flaring test at the Waraga 1 well in Kaiso-Tonya in Hoima district in 2006. Uganda is close to producing her first oil. (File/Reuters)

ECONOMY | OIL


KAMPALA - The Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) will hold a forum aimed at skilling Ugandans and developing local content capacity around the oil and gas industry.

The meeting, organised in conjuction with the education and sports ministry, will run from Monday until Tuesday this week at Kampala Sheraton Hotel.

President Yoweri Museveni is expected to deliver a keynote address at the forum. Education minister Janet Museveni, who has recently committed her ministry to championing the training of Ugandans interested in working in the oil industry, is also expected at the meeting.

Vision Group chief executive officer Robert Kabushenga will be among the other speakers that will make a case for local content.

As Uganda prepares for her first oil, locals are rubbing their hands in anticipation of the wide range of opportunities in the oil and gas industry.

According to Dr Elly Karuhanga, the chairperson of UCMP, more than $10 billion (about sh36 trillion) is expected to be invested in Uganda even before a single barrel of oil is drilled from the ground.

The reason is the urgent need for support infrastructure, including pipelines, a refinery, roads and an airport.

However, being a nascent industry in Uganda, oil exploitation remains heavily dependent on foreign expertise.

'Skilling takes time'

Karuhanga feels UCMP is obliged to use its wide reach to help Ugandans work in the country's oil and gas industry through avenues, such as the skilling and local content forum.

"Skilling takes time. That it is why it is called skilling. We need everyone to come and get skilled to manage our oil industry," he said, according to a statement.

"This assembly will gather all institutions - public and private - that are involved in skills development and training to lay the ground for clear programmes that will help Uganda achieve its local content aspirations," he added.

According to the 2014 Industrial Baseline Survey (IBS), Uganda's petroleum sector will generate 100,000 to 150,000 direct and indirect jobs.

However, limited information, lack of skills, poor infrastructures and administrative bureaucracy as some of the barriers that would hamper Ugandans from working in the sector, the study said.

The survey also revealed that only 25 industries of the 420 surveyed in Uganda had high potential to supply the sector.

Patrick Mweheire, Stanbic Bank's chief executive, who is also UCMP's vice-chairperson said skilling and some guidance is key.

"There is a lack of depth in numbers of very remedial skills along the value chain, whether it is driving, welding or fabricating. These gaps can be filled with skilling and training, and a little bit of guidance," he said.

The law

Besides training individuals, preparing local companies to compete for contracts within the oil and gas industry will also be a key subject at the two-day conference.

Another sticking point at the forum will be legislation.

A law (currently Local Content Bill) to address the maximization of value-addition and job creation through the use of local expertise, goods and services, businesses and financing in the oil industry is being developed and will be discussed at the assembly.

"We have to figure out how to keep a significant percentage of the oil investments in Uganda," Karuhanga said.

"The Chamber will continue to engage the state, through a special committee, to ensure that the upcoming local content law addresses all our concerns so that many Ugandans can participate in the sector," he added.

Robert Kasande, the permanent secretary of the energy ministry and Jimmy Mugerwa, the country manager of Tullow Oil, will be among the speakers.

According to the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, 927 entities had been successfully verified and qualified to feature on the 2018 National Supplier Database for Uganda's oil sector as of December 31 last year.

Of these entities, 561 were companies registered in Uganda while 366 were registered outside the country.

 

ADVERTISEMENT