Going by media reports that Tullow Oil PLC has finally sold its stake in the Albertine Garben to Total E & P pending the full start of oil flow to the market in three years times, is the country ready to for the quest for opportunities the oil-rich region?
As we plan to invest in infrastructure like roads, schools, airports, hospitals, hotels, etc, resources must be secured to ensure that the number of people, especially the youth, do not overwhelm the government in this region.
The above scenario, if not well planned, may be a recipe for insecurity in oil and gas sector. This is in addition to causing a conflicts in the host district(s) distribution of resources and equipping equitably with the requisite tools, especially the social amenities such as housing, water, etc.
Many economic analysts see migration to the region as a key threat to the sector even before the country rolls out its full strategic plan.
With the country’s youth population surging beyond the global trends of between 60 per cent and 70 per cent per year, mostly with increasing educated clusters all searching for jobs, there must be a well-thought out plan to address this as the sector takes shape. A shift in balance of power is slowly taking place in the Albertine region and the youth are a key drivers in the equation.
Therefore, we must have a national conversation to plan for them as their migration to the various opportunities the sector offers is unstoppable. Investment in research by government to help in planning may be an added advantage.
This can be done through the National Planning Authority and other relevant agencies with support from the International Labour Organisation in the region in anticipation of the boom in the industry in future.
Furthermore, a look at the amended Oil & Gas Policy says little about what government can do in case there is a surge in the population in the Albertine Garben focusing on the youth.
Having listened to President Museveni’s State-of-the-Nation address on June 4 where he outlined his governments strategic interventions for the future amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is are citizens who may miss out on his package given that young people are not able to go other areas across the country to seek for better livelihood opportunities.
Freddie K. Kiapi,