30,000 at risk of missing out on oil money -report

Residents of Buhuka Sub-county in Hoima District wait for relief aid from CNOOC Uganda Limited recently. A new survey conducted in the Albertine Graben shows that many residents could miss out on compensation for the use of their land by the government. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA

What you need to know:

The study was conducted by the International Alert and Democratic Governance Facility and carried out in the 13 districts where oil was discovered.

A new survey conducted in the Albertine Graben has showed that scores of residents could miss out on compensation, particularly in the area where a refinery has been proposed to be built.

The study by the International Alert and Democratic Governance Facility, which was released yesterday, indicates that more than 30,000 residents in nine villages, where close to 29 square kilometres has been mapped for the construction of the refinery, could be affected.

“Although a resettlement plan is in place, the process of preparing displaced people to cope with the new situation is inadequate,” the report reads.

The study established that only 10 per cent of the respondents in the oil region, which covers 13 districts in Acholi, Bunyoro, Kigezi, Rwenzori and West Nile sub-regions, acknowledged that their households were displaced, while others lived in ignorance that the worst was yet to come their way.

Short sighted plans
“Preparation plans aimed at building the capacity of the affected people to manage the compensations proceeds before they received their packages were limited,” part of the report reads.

It adds that affected individuals are told to report to RDCs’ offices, from where they are referred to the district land boards, among other offices, dreading the red tape if they are to be paid.

But Mr Bukenya Matovu, the communications officer at the Ministry of Energy, said the government had a comprehensive plan for compensating all affected residents in the region.

“We are facing problems of valuation of property as there is no standard benchmark, but we are working within the means to ensure that every one is a winner in this,” Mr Matovu noted.