KAKUMIRO – The minister of state for minerals Hon. Peter Lokeris has faulted the process of land compensation for causing delays in most of the government’s projects.
Mr Lokeris urged the Project Affected Persons (PAPs] not to inflate the land compensation rates but to only push for fair compensation.
Mr Lokeris made the remarks during the first session of the EACOP Public Hearing for the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report on 22 October at Kisiita Primary School, Kakumiro District.
Addressing about 1500 stakeholders in the public hearing, Mr Lokeris emphasised government’s commitment to delivering East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project as planned.
“The land acquisition process for the EACOP project is ongoing. But it becomes difficult when people inflate the value of their land and demand for unfair compensation and I want to urge you to push for fair land compensation to enable government deliver,” Mr Lokeris said.
He urged the PAPs not to use compensation money for ad-hoc expenditure, donations and emergencies but to re-invest the money to acquire assets that will generate cash on a regular basis to improve your livelihoods.
“I know many of you had started thinking that the project has stalled but this Public Hearing should now take away all doubt since it is one of the pre-requisites to having the EACOP project delivered,” Mr Lokeris added.
Mr. Dozith Abeinomugisha, who represented the Executive Director of the PAU, welcomed the stakeholders to the public hearing, and urged them to participate freely and openly to enrich the ESIA report.
“This is the fifth public hearing being held for different oil and gas projects, that has been organised by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda. The first four were of the Kingfisher and Tilenga projects (Upstream), while this week’s hearings are for the EACOP Project (Midstream)”, Mr. Abeinomugisha said.
Mr. Maxim Marchenko, the Director of the EACOP project presented the project specifications during the public hearing and noted that the fourteen (14) land valuation reports required for the project were before the Chief Government Valuer.
“We are optimistic that the land valuation reports will be approved so that the compensation of PAPs can proceed,” he said.
The EACOP Project is expected to create employment for the locals in terms of supply of labour, engineering and construction materials. The Oil and Gas Sector is anticipated to create about 160,000 jobs both directly, indirectly induced.
The public hearing was organized by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) in accordance with Section 22 of the National Environment (Environment Impact Assessment) Regulations. The main objective of the ESIA is to offer affected and interested parties the opportunity to express their opinions on any issues considered outstanding in the report.
The Presiding Officer at the public hearings Prof. Vincent Bagiire, Makerere University, Kampala, asked stakeholders to participate and give their views on the project.
The area Member of Parliament Bugangaizi East, Hon. OnesmusTwinamatsiko said the government should expedite the process for compensation since the cut-off date had already been announced.
“My people have only one request, they want to know when the government will pay them. Land grabbers are taking advantage of the project to cheat the locals”, said Twinamatsiko.
The second session of the EACOP public hearing will take place on 23 October at Kasana Church of Uganda grounds, Mubende District while the third and final session will be hosted at Lwanda Public Grounds, Rakai District, on 25 October.
An electronic version of the EACOP ESIA report is available on the websites of the PAU and NEMA. Members of the public are encouraged to submit comments and views on the EACOP project to the Presiding Officer, PAU by 1st November this year.
Uganda section of the pipeline
Mr Lokeris explained that the EACOP project is linear in nature only occupying 30m wide strip of land and that Uganda’s section of the pipeline from Hoima to Mutukula is 296 kilometres and is estimated to cost $700m (approximately Shs2.4 trillion).
The documents accessed by PML Daily, an on-line paper indicate that the pipeline will avoid environmentally sensitive areas such as the Murchison Falls Delta and Rivers using Horizontal Directional Drilling in which the Pipeline will be submerged under the river bed. He says the drilling is done in such a way that disturbance is minimized on the ecosystem above the Pipeline.
The documents indicate further that the total length of the Pipeline is 1,445 Kilometers through 148 Villages in 24 sub-counties in nine districts of Hoima, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Sembabule, Lwengo, Kyotera, Rakai, Kikuube), and 25 sub-counties. In Tanzania, it will cover a distance of 1,147km, through the 8 regions (Kagera, Geita, Shinyanga, Tabora, Singida, Dodoma, Manyara, Tanga) and 24 districts.
The EACOP project is one of the major midstream commercialization projects for Uganda’s oil and gas industry. When constructed, the EACOP will be the longest heated crude oil pipeline in the world, at 1,443km, running from Kabaale in Hoima District, to Tanga port in Tanzania.
Early project works on the EACOP included the signing of the Inter-Government Agreement between Uganda and Tanzania in May 2017 and conclusion of the Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) in 2018. Ongoing works include resettlement action planning, which started in 2018, and negotiations for the project framework agreements.