May 8, 2013

Oil Refinery: Take the Money or be Relocated to Karamoja

Tullow oil workers a Rig
Tullow oil workers at a Rig

When it was announced that Uganda’s oil Refinery would be Relocated in their area, the Residents of Kabaale subcounty in Buseruka Hoime District celebrated, they thought they were finally beginning to realize the benefits that come with being part of Uganda’s Oil Region, but it later turned out, they had to make way for the Refinery whose coming these had so much celebrated and will probably never enjoy the benefits that come with having a Refinery nearby.

Article 26 of the Uganda Constitution provides for circumstances under which government can take over an individual’s  property, and the acquisition of land for an Oil Refinery falls under sub-section 2(a) which allows the acquisition of private property if is deemed necessary for public usage. However, residents of Kabaale sub-county in Hoima District question the manner in which they are being evicted.

The Petitioners Listening to AFIEGO'S Executive Director Dickens Kamugisha
The Petitioners Listening to AFIEGO’S Executive Director Dickens Kamugisha

Mr. Dickens Kamugisha the Executive Director of the African Institute For Energy Governance (AFIEGO) one of the NGOs helping the petitioners says that residents who opted for relocation were told they were being taken to Karamoja, something the residents say forced most of them to opt for Monetary compensation seeing that they have been made to believe Karamoja is a dangerous place, which they are also yet to receive. One resident also says he was shocked when his neighbour sold land however, when the person he had sold to the land showed up a month later he showed up with a Land Title that also included his land,  other residents raised issues like lack of sensitisation which may have led to some of them making  wrong decisions, lack of participation, compensation and the legality of the whole eviction process.

Some of the Residents who came from Kabaale at Speke Hotel Today
Some of the Residents who came from Kabaale at Speke Hotel today

The residents will tomorrow morning with the help of the Africa Institute for Energy Governance intend to petition the Speaker of Parliament and the Minister of Lands Housing and Urban Development, but in their petition, they want her to compel the Minister of lands, Housing and Urban Development to operationalise section 2 of the  Land Acquisition Act of 1965 which empowers the minister to make regulations for the assessment and payment of compensation, thus effecting the purposes and provisions of the Act, the residents say the minister’s decision to ignore this Legal requirement is what has led to all their suffering in this exercise. They also want the public finance bill 2012 which is on the flow of Parliament to be amended so that it provides a 5% royalty share to all land owners who are directly affected by oil related activities.

The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Daudi Migereko was not available for comment by press time. However the Government, has in the past said that all residents affected by the eviction exercise will be adequately compensated.

About  Oil and the Refinery.

Uganda’s oil is estimated to be 3.5 Billion barrels, but only half of  it will be exploited  and this will be over a 20 year period, Uganda’s Refinery will occupy 29 square miles in Hoima District and produce an estimated 30,000 barrels of oil per  day. Uganda also intends to use natural gas to supply a 50 Megawatt dual power station to increase electricity supply. In addition to gas; heavy fuel oil from extended well tests will be used for the power station.

A detailed feasibility study for the development of refinery in Uganda pointed out that its economically feasible and beneficial compared to export of crude oil.

The Net Present Value for a Ugandan refinery project to process 30,000 barrels of oil per day at an initial investment of $6.5b has post tax rate of 29% and plans are underway to execute the project under the private public partnership with France’s Total, China’s CNOOC and Tullow Oil.

3 thoughts on “Oil Refinery: Take the Money or be Relocated to Karamoja

  1. This kind of relocation might spark off a very tense civil/tribal strife
    in Karamoja and Hoima.Ugandans should first revisit their historical
    events in the past before making provocative statements.Let the govt
    think again before the worst comes into existence.

  2. karamoja is the most safest place for the refinery especially napak district were people are busy farming

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