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Mpigi leaders raise concerns over proposed Kampala oil terminal

FILE PHOTO: Kampala oil terminal

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Mpigi District officials have raised several issues they would like the Energy and Mineral Development Ministry and Uganda National Oil Company-UNOC to address as the proposed Kampala Oil Terminal project takes shape.

Among the issues is the full involvement of the local government in the project, infrastructural development, local content and assurance on environment management.

Peter Claver Mutuluza, the Mpigi LC V Chairperson, says although the project has been on since 2007, the central government has remained tight-lipped and didn’t engage them even during the development of the project master plan.

As result, district authorities went ahead and partnered with Maendeleo ya Jamii, a not-for-profit organization incorporated in Uganda and the United States of America to advocate for its involvement and participation in the oil projects.

Maendeleo ya Jamii has been working in seven districts in the Albertine Graben since 2012. Mutuluza notes that their partnership with Maendeleo ya Jamii is also yet to yield results.

Ronald Kazibwe, the Mpigi District Commercial Officer stresses the need for the central government to identify items that can be sourced locally from Mpigi district to allow them to start preparing residents on what they ought to do to benefit from the project.

Sitenda Mugalu, the Mpigi District Physical Planner also points out that it would better if the district is served with the project master plan to pro-actively get involved in making action plans for the surrounding areas.

He singles out issues around construction and road infrastructure among others, which the district might need to address depending on the project master plan.

“If at all they provide us with their master plan so that we can also integrate it with our physical development plans and detailed action plans in the areas surrounding the project to ensure that we avert possible oversights,” said Mugalu.

Mugalu further observes that when such projects are put up in an area, there is a given radius where certain activities are impermissible. He however, says although the ministry has already developed the Kampala Oil Terminal project master plan, the district has no clue.

He suggests that providing them the master plan would enable them to advice affected residents to make adjustments depending on the physical development plan.

Steven Sherura Bainenaama, an official in the Midstream Petroleum Department in the Energy Ministry, says they will find means of sharing the project master plan with the district in collaboration with UNOC and where need be, a few slight adjustments can be made.

He however, says the district shouldn’t expect major changes since the master plan cost government huge sums of money and time. Bainenaama says the ministry is committed to involve the local leadership in the project, saying they have suggested holding bi-annual meetings with the leaders to bridge the information gap.

Another sticky issue is the project name. Mutuluza says that leaders in Mpigi are still wondering how the central government christened the project Buloba and later Kampala yet the storage facility will be located deep in Mpigi village.

He says it would be better if the project is named Mpigi or Kampala-Mpigi oil terminal so that the hosting communities feel a sense of ownership and also since it is a flagship project it can as well help promoting Mpigi district, one of the oldest districts in the country.

The terminal development operations manager at Uganda National Oil Company-UNOC, Eng. Gershom Kateera, says the district council is free to forward a council minute to the ministry with the proposed project name for consideration.

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