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Kabagambe Kaliisa: Time To Benefit From Uganda’s Oil & Gas Sector Is Now

 The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) organised the first Regional National Content Conference for suppliers in the Oil and Gas Sector at the Hoima Resort Hotel, Hoima on 12th March, 2019. 

The objective of the conference, which was attended by close to 400 participants,  was to engage and disseminate information to companies, organised groups, individuals and entities on the opportunities in the oil and gas sector, given the strategic positioning of the region.

Dr. Fred Kabagambe Kaliisa, the Senior Presidential Advisor on Oil, Gas and Minerals,  delivered the key note address, in which he implored the people of Bunyoro to seize the immense opportunities in the oil and gas sector.

“As a region we have a comparative advantage over other regions because we will host major support infrastructure for the sector, such as the refinery and Uganda’s second international airport. We, however, need to prepare and get ready for these opportunities because the Oil and Gas sector will not wait for us. Do not wait until it is too late for you to participate, the time is now,” said Dr Kaliisa.

In her opening remarks, Peninah Aheebwa, the PAU’s Director Technical Support & Services, re-echoed government’s approach to National content, which, she said has clearly and precisely been articulated in the existing Policy, Legal and Regulatory frameworks, including the Local Content Policy, 2018, which was passed by Cabinet in June 2018.

“As a region you should position yourselves and enter joint venture partnerships that can enable you compete with others to retain a significant part of the USD 20 billion expenditure planned in the next three to five years,” said Aheebwa.

Peninah Aheebwa, the Director Technical Support Services, addressing participants at the Conference

Only 35 companies from the Albertine region are registered on the National Suppliers Database (NSD) hence the need to see that more are registered, as the the first step in meeting the aspiration to supply goods and services to the Oil and Gas activities in Uganda.

The PAU will conduct registration clinics during March 2019 in Hoima (11th to 15th March), Buliisa (18th to 22nd) and Nwoya (25th to 30th) districts,  to support the registration of companies and individuals on the NSD and the NOGTR (National Oil and Gas Talent register) so that the chances of getting business and employement in the sector are increased. The first clinic in Hoima saw registration of 14 entities on the NSD and 165 individuals on the NOGTR.

Ms Betty Namubiru, Manager National Content from the PAU presented the Progress of Implementation of National Content in the Oil and Gas Sector in Uganda. She emphasised the initiatives in place to support Ugandans’ participation in oil and gas activities. This includes a focus on enterprise development, employment and capacity building.

“The Petroleum laws give Ugandan companies a 10% edge in bid evaluation scores under oil and gas procuremnets provided they clearly spell out; the proposals for employment of Ugandans, opportunities for utilisation of Ugandan goods and services and capacity building among others,” said Ms. Namubiru..

The law provides 16 categories of goods and services that are ring fenced for Ugandans, some of these services include, transportation, civil works, environment management, hotel and catering services and clearing and forwarding, Ugandans should therefore prepare to cease opportunities in these already earmarked areas,

Regarding skilling for the oil and gas industry, Mr Rwambula Kenneth, the Business Development Officer of Q-Sourcing revealed that they had trained a number of Ugandans who are earning from the skills obtained as they wait for the anticipated jobs in the industry.

“When we realised that our graduates were going to be idle after training due to minimal work in the industry, we pooled them together and we now bid for big contracts as a company as we wait for the construction work”, said Mr Rwambula Kenneth.

The Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba(UPIK) received International accreditation, though the enrolment into the institute was still low standing at 86 students per year.  The total number sofar stands at 141 students since the institute was opened and yet the industry requires over 900 technicians for the upcoming projects, said Mr. Muhumuza.”

Resolutions from the Conference

Given the nature of the Oil and Gas Industry, companies were advised to diversify their markets to ensure sustainanbility, and were urged to strive  to meet the required industry standards through training, certification,  partnerships and joint ventures. On the Agricultural Development Program, Farmers were urged to either form or join existing farmer groups to build capacity to be able to meet the demand and standards of the International Oil Companies (IOCs).

Patricipants also urged to oil companies and the PAU to ensure that standards are published and widely disseminated, as failure to meet the required standards was cited as one of the reasons why local companies are not contracted

The first Regional National Content Conference for the oil and gas sector provided a platform to share the lessons learnt, and the expectations of the International Oil Companies from their potential suppliers in terms of quality, timeliness, health and safety. This conference follows a similar engagement held in Kampala on 8th February 2019, that attracted 650 participants.

Taddewo William Senyonyi
William is a seasoned business and finance journalist. He is also an agripreneur and a coffee enthusiast.

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