Ugandan youths told to forget about Oil Jobs

Fred Onduri Machulu

The Commissioner for Youths and Children Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development, Fred Onduri addresses students to utilize opportunities in the oil sector

Forgetting about jobs in a country where 62% of the youths are jobless, is the kind of news that many will resent but a reality that has to be faced. Such was the kind of message that Uganda Oil and Gas sector players were sending out to the participants of a workshop organised by the Africa Institute for Energy Governance to sensitize youths on the nascent sector.

Peter Magelah, a Research Officer of the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment cautioned the youth to stop looking at the Oil Sector as a source of jobs but instead focus on other closely related sectors like infrastructural development which he believes will bring in the desired jobs.

He cited the example of the railway construction which he said will create jobs Ugandans should be prepared to take up other than solely focus on the oil sector in the narrow sense.

“We shall need 80, 000 tonnes of cargo because of oil,”Magelah stated, “And that is just for the construction phase of the Oil refinery and the pipeline. “

He noted that to transport that cargo Uganda will need a railway line since transporting that volume of cargo by road would be placing an unbearable burden on our road system.

“What the sector provides is a few jobs,” the researcher told the youths

“What you need to do is to position yourselves in other sectors through which you can scheme for opportunities in the Oil and Gas sector.”

Magelah said he is a lawyer but he has done a lot of work in the Oil and Gas sector even when he does not have qualifications specifically tailored to the Oil and Gas sector.

He was also concerned that the institutions offering Oil and Gas courses are giving the students a raw deal.

“Most of the institutions offering Oil and Gas courses are training administrators. If you are doing that course, they will need only 150 people.” Magelah revealed.

Fred Onduri , the Commissioner for Youth and Children Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, challenged the youth to focus on developing enterprises that provide services in the Oil  and gas sector other than sink their energies in scheming for oil jobs.

“Don’t look out for direct jobs,” Onduri requested, “but look out for provision of services.”

“Don’t think oil will solve all your problems. You need to be an artisan, tailor your career to what is required in the oil sector.”  Onduri emphasised.

The workshop which was at the Conference Hall of Makerere University’s College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology on Friday 29th November attracted mainly university students and got them reeling with frustration at the revelation. During the question and answer question, a participant was not amused that jobs of caterers and drivers in the Oil and Gas sector were being given out to foreigners when there are Ugandans who could do such jobs.

“I wonder what techniques those drivers use to drive,” the participant questioned.

However, the Acting Chairperson of the Parliamentary Forum on Oil and Gas and Igara East Member of Parliament Micheal Mawanda responded saying parliament had enacted laws to avert such social injustices and the practice of sidelining Ugandans from taking up such jobs was in the past and not now.

[author image=”” ]Zakaria Tiberindwa is a Writer, Researcher and Legal Professional. He obtained a Bachelors Degree in Law from Uganda Christian University and has completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at Law Development Centre. He has more than 5- years experience in journalism and creative writing. He has skills in writing, journalism, research, legal aid practice, web design, web-content management, social media marketing, public speaking, training, print magazine-designing, editing, photography and video-shooting and editing. He is a performance poet and has been an active member of Uganda’s largest community of Poets, the Lantern meet of Poets. He blogs at the wireless connection and please [follow id=”@musumbazak” ][/author]

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