Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Fishermen in the Albertine Graben are demanding involvement in the oil and gas sector.
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. An Airport is being constructed on part of the 29,000-hectare piece of land where the government plans to construct a 60,000 barrel per day oil refinery and other facilities.
There is also an on-going study of the East Africa Crude export pipeline from Hoima to Tanga port in Tanzania. A number of roads are being constructed to aid the oil production.
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.
Aziz Irumba a fisherman at Kyehoro landing site in Kikuube district wonders why the government and the oil companies have neglected the fishing community.
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.
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.
Sebikari says the Agriculture Development Programme for the Albertine Graben, which is in the final stages of development, will incorporate a value chain analysis for fishing as a key area of support to identify the opportunities and challenges for fishermen to supply oil and gas activities.