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I will ensure all driving jobs in oil sector are given to Ugandans – Gen Katumba

FILE PHOTO: Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Works and Transport Minister, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, has vowed to fight tooth and nail to ensure that all driving jobs in the oil sector are exclusively given to Ugandans. Gen Katumba said that he has already received information from oil companies that there are no Ugandans with the required competence to drive oil trucks as the country counts down to 2025 when the extraction is expected to officially begin.

Speaking at the award gala for professional drivers at Hotel Africana on Friday evening, Gen Katumba said that he does not agree at all that Uganda lacks experienced, skilled, and competent drivers to work in the oil sector. Gen Katumba explained that it would be very wrong for oil companies to claim that Uganda lacks professional drivers yet there are dozens who have been driving cross-border trucks for more than 20 years.

“I have already told these oil companies that we have all the drivers they want and they have the required experience. I have told them that if they want special skills, our drivers can be given those skills and they become better,” Gen Katumba said.

The professional drivers’ wards gala was organized by the Uganda Professional Drivers Network -UPDN headed by Ndungu Omongo purposely to appreciate drivers and other stakeholders who have exhibited professionalism on the road or have played a role in promoting road safety.

Among those that scooped awards for professional drivers was Racheal Lwanga, who has been driving professional vehicles like buses and trucks for over 18 years. Lwanga said she abandoned her graphics job to be a professional driver because it was her childhood passion.

“I have been driving for 18 years. I started as a special hire driver, went into taxis, and now driving Tondeka Buses. I want to tell women who say these cars are big; that they are not once you are determined. It all starts with confidence in you. I believe women can do this professional driving more than men,” Lwanga said.

Katumba also revealed plans to regulate garages that often cheat clients because they operate anywhere. He said that when a garage is operating under a tree, it becomes difficult for drivers who have been cheated to follow up.

“When you look at the vehicle it’s not just the driver. We are talking about professional drivers; but if the vehicles are not properly attended to, then there is a problem. Today, you find someone operating a garage under a tree. They actually cheat their customers. If someone is operating under a tree, tomorrow he will shift,” Gen Katumba said.

Some of the drivers who scooped the awards are Gen Katumba, Traffic police spokesperson, Faridah Nampiima, Commissioner in Charge of Transport in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Winston Katushabe, Kampala Capital City Authority -KCCA’s road safety engineer, Irene Namuyiga and Safe Way Right Way- SWRW.

With only 15 days left to Christmas, Gen Katumba and Nampiima urged Ugandans to be very careful on the roads as they head back to their respective villages to celebrate with their relatives since the past two years had restricted movement and gatherings in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19.

“Do not be reckless on the roads as you head to the villages for Christmas. Every road user should change their attitude on the road. You should not drive enforcement but drive to be safe and respect other road users,” Nampiima said.

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One comment

  1. Ugandans should be given first priority.

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