By Ronald Musoke
The Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP), a local non-profit that represents the interests of the private sector in the country’s extractive sector wants more Ugandans to fully get involved in the sector.
The call was made by the UCMP Chairman, Elly Karuhanga, at the organization’s third Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Aug. 2; in Kampala where members were taking stock of the past one year.
It is for this reason that Karuhanga who is also the president of Tullow Oil Uganda, one of the most influential firms involved in the country’s oil and gas sector particularly singled out the UCMP’s mentorship scheme to the youth as one the biggest successes of the year.
In mid-2012, the UCMP started a mentorship scheme intended to empower the youth to seize various prospects that come with a vibrant extractives sector.
“For me, this year’s success story has been our trip to Namagunga Girls School to introduce the students to the opportunities Mother Nature has put in front of them.
I am certain they will grow up in a much better economy than I grew up in; so it’s important that we introduce the oil and mining subjects to more young Ugandans early enough, if they are to fully benefit from their country’s riches,” Mr Karuhanga said.
The project involves visiting schools and guiding students about the various careers available in the mining and petroleum industries.
Besides this initiative, Karuhanga said the UCMP is also considering offering sponsorship alongside other necessary support to the Uganda Petroleum Institute, Kigumba (UPIK) and other institutions offering similar curricula.
UCMP also recently partnered with ‘Skilling Uganda’, a 10 year ‘Business, Technical & Vocational Education Training (BTVET) strategic plan that is intended to address the skills gap in the country.
Launched in 2010, UCMP has a membership of over 110 organizations and individuals. It coordinates and facilitates information and administrative support to prospective and current investors in the mining and exploration sectors in Uganda.
Irene Nakalyango, the UCMP CEO noted that UCMP is increasingly getting involved in major activities organized by related government ministries and agencies— developments that could only strengthen its mandate going forward.
Speaking in his capacity as a council member of the UCMP at the same AGM, the Tullow Uganda, General Manager, Jimmy Mugerwa emphasized the need for Uganda to fast-track the development of the petroleum industry that seems to have stagnated over the past year if it is to stay ahead of her neighbours like Kenya.
Meanwhile, UCMP has finalized plans to have this year’s Mineral Wealth Conference—one of the mining fora in the Great Lakes region— now in its second year, is slated for Oct 1-2 in Kampala.