Chinese company, CNOOC Uganda Limited has handed over for 56 newly constructed resettlement houses for a number of persons effected by the ongoing oil project in the Albertine Graben.
The persons who received houses on Thursday were those whose households were affected during project land acquisition that was required for the project development ahead of the construction schedule for project infrastructure such as the Central Processing Facility, drilling camp, well pads, infield flow lines, spoil areas, access roads, safety buffers around project facilities and the Feeder pipeline.
The project has implemented four resettlement action plans (RAPs) including Legacy RAP – 61 PAPs for the Escarpment Road, RAP I – 31 PAPs for the CPF, Well pads, RAP II 680 PAPs for the Feeder Pipeline, Infield lines,
access roads and RAP III -16 PAPs for buffer zones for the CPF and well pads.
The project was able to identify physically displaced PAPs based on the eligibility and entitlements matrix as designed in the resettlement action plan and in-kind compensation was provided to households that were primary residences through construction of replacement houses comprising 3 bedrooms, living room, 1 outdoor kitchen and 1 VIP latrine, rain water harvesting equipment and solar power for
lighting and other light energy needs.
A total of 56 resettlement units (inclusive of two institutional toilets for a school and a church) spread across 3 Sub counties Kyangwali, Kabwoya, Buseruka and of 5 parishes of Buhuka, Kyangwali, Butoole, Kaseeta and Kabaale in Hoima and Kikuube districts were officially handed over.
CNOOC has also carried out various livelihood restoration programs to skill the affected persons as well as improve their earning potential thus improving livelihoods through vocational skilling of children by giving them training in welding, motorcycle basic mechanics, motor vehicle basic mechanics, construction, tailoring, catering, hair dressing among others.
Other projects include; financial literacy training and business development support targeting 1800
beneficiaries and their spouses.
Speaking on Thursday, Robinson Oketcha, a representative of the project affected persons said they were given options of compensation for all their property that was affected.
He said that for those whose houses were affected, they were given options of cash compensation or getting a replacement house., adding that he chose a replacement house and he is very happy to receive his house.
“This house is a very big upgrade from my old house. I thank CNOOC for fulfilling their promise,”Oketcha said.
Leaders from Kikuube and Hoima districts also applauded the Chinese company for fulfilling its promise but also doing it in a timely manner.
They also thanked CNOOC for the various projects being carried out to
improve livelihoods of the community members.
Ma Peixin, the Vice President, CNOOC Uganda Limited thanked the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and Petroleum Authority of Uganda for the support rendered during the implementation of the project and called for continued support as project activities increase.
He re-echoed CNOOC’s commitment to being a good neighbor and always striving to create win-win relationships with the local community.
He also thanked the affected persons for the trust they put in the Chinese company.
“This was a testament to the commitment CNOOC Uganda Limited has to fulfill its obligations and continued operation according to national and international best practices and guidelines especially the IFC standards, “he said.
The State Minister for Mineral Development, Peter Lokeris said the handover of the resettlement houses is a big milestone regarding the oil and gas projects as it signifies that the oil contractor can now access the project required land without any hinderances.