Members of parliament on the Committee on Natural Resources have asked government to prioritize the compensation and resettlement exercise of Project Affect Persons (PAPs) in the refinery and pipeline development project before kickoff.
In a report on the Ministerial Policy Statement and Budget Estimates for financial 2015/16, the committee notes that government has already established 29 square kilometers of land in Kabaale Parish in Buseruka County in Hoima district on which the multimillion dollar project will be erected.
“The committee recommends that government fast tracks the compensation and resettlement of Project Affected persons so that the construction of the refinery can commence according to the schedule” the report reads in part
Members noted that the land identified in this case has 7,118 directly affect people out of which 2,708 are property owners. The report further indicated that of the 2,708 are property owners, 2615 opted for cash compensation and 93 opted for resettlement.
Yet 2,327 have been paid, 288 are still pending, a thing which is likely to cause suspicion among the land owners and affected persons. However, there is optimism as the ministry is reviewing the process
“Out of this figure, 113 have been submitted and are being verified by the ministry of energy for payment processing. Forty two (42) contested compensation rates as being low of which seven (7) are in court. However, engagements with them are ongoing to resolve the issues” the report optimistically notes
These revelations come against the backdrop that government was concluding negotiations with the contractor for commencement of the Refinery—Gas pipeline project.
Meanwhile on the issue of Sector Institutional and Regulatory framework, the committee notably observed that there is laxity in the implementation and formulation of regulations required to operationalize the petroleum laws notably the Petroleum Exploration, Production and Development (PEPD) act 2013 and Petroleum Refining, Conversion Transmission and Midstream Storage act.
The Petroleum Authority, National Oil Company, and the Directorate of Petroleum as provided for in PEPD act 2013 have not been implemented yet. MPs said there were only 5 members on the Petroleum Authority with two vacant positions and no credible measures have been taken to incorporate the National Oil Company.