Civil society: GOVT not doing enough to TRAIN Ugandans for oil, gas jobs

Government is not doing enough to prepare Ugandans to take-up top jobs in the oil and gas field.
This, according to some civil society leaders, will result in the lucrative sector benefitting foreign nationals instead of Ugandans
Mr Dickens Kamugisha, the chief executive officer of Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), told Jobs and Career last week that depending on profit-oriented companies to train Ugandans in form of scholarships, is exhibition of poor planning the country is suffering from.
“The oil industry needs specialised training for one to attain the relevant skills but we are depending on oil companies to train our experts. The ideal thing should be that they (companies) employ already made experts but we don’t have them,” Mr Kamugisha said.
He said even the few Ugandans with qualifications in Oil and Gas are languishing on the streets as the companies shun them due to lack of practical experience.
“Fifteen Ugandans came back after completing oil and gas studies but they are languishing in Hoima without jobs because they do not have the experience that the companies need to employ them.”
A recent visit to Buseruka Hydropower Plant in Buseruka Sub-county, Hoima District where a nine Megawatt (MW) power dam is being built, revealed that workers there are people of Asian origin which ministry officials attribute to lack of expertise in the field of welding.
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mr Wafula Oguttu, concurred with Mr Kamugisha.
“We discovered oil about 10 years ago but we delayed to train nationals. If we continue with the trend, the oil resource will be taken over by foreigners,” Mr Wafula said.
Ms Gloria Sebikari, the communications officer at Petroleum Exploration and Production Department in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, however, dismisses the claims and said government has introduced Oil and Gas course at Makerere University, set up a petroleum institute in Kigumba and companies are complementing them with scholarships to make Ugandans employable.
“Makerere University has started oil courses and many people are taking the same in Kigumba,” she told Jobs and Career last week in Kampala during a function where five Ugandans won scholarships to study oil courses.
Ms Sebikari also said majority of jobs in the sector are artisan which the Kigumba Petroleum Institute will concentrate on.

ptajuba@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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