Fishermen Plea for Involvement In Oil and Gas Sector

Fishermen in the Albertine Graben are demanding involvement in the oil and gas sector for them to benefit. They argue that despite the improvement of various sectors like roads, Health facilities, and Education, the fishing communities have been abandoned.

Currently, the government and oil companies are implementing several infrastructures and environmental social impact studies geared at pumping out the first barrel of oil by 2022. Bunyoro region will host the proposed oil refinery which is expected to produce at least 60,000 barrels of oil per day, an airport, and tarmacked roads, airfield pipelines that will bring crude oil from various oil wells to the refinery and the East African crude oil pipeline which will cover a distance of 1,444 kilometers.

The pipeline construction is expected to create over 10,000 new jobs during its construction and 160,000 jobs during the commercial oil development stage. However, the fishermen note that the government and the oil companies have not bothered to involve them in the oil and gas sector. Gard Afeni, a fisherman at Kaiso landing site in Hoima district says despite the existence of a number of Oil wells on Lake Albert shore, the community settling on the shores should have been the first to be prepared to tap the opportunities in the oil and gas sector.

He says they have several times formed fishing groups but they have not been supported to develop. Robert Mujuni, the representative of fishermen at Kaiso landing site, says that they have written several proposals to the oil companies to help finance their attempts to start fish cages to improve their fishing methods, but they have been let down. Mujuni wonders why they were neglected to add that by now they would be having a bigger SACCO to enable them to tap benefits from Oil and gas sector.

Gloria Sebikari, the Manager Corporate Affairs, and Public Relations Officer Petroleum Authority of Uganda-PAU says the government together with the oil companies are undertaking a number of initiatives to ensure that Ugandans, including the fishing communities, are prepared to tap into the sector.

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