The pursuit of local content in Uganda’s oil and gas sector received the backing of businessman Sikander Lalani when he said that in the presence of a robust participation of local goods and services suppliers the country’s oil and gas adventure will lead to industrialization and economic transformation.
Lalani who owns Roofings Group worth $300m was addressing a congregation at a cocktail hosted by Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) at his residence in Kampala’s upscale Nakasero suburb.
“We are looking forward for the upcoming oil and gas industry. Surely, all the service providers and manufacturers will benefit a lot and we thank government for encouraging local content. Local content is to supply to the sector; this will promote industrialization and economic transformation in the country.” He said in his brief address.
The national oil and gas policy which was established in 2008, two years after Uganda discovered commercially viable crude oil deposits in western Uganda provides for the participation of Ugandans in the oil and gas industry. Subsequent national laws and regulation made it mandatory for the industry to absorb Ugandans and local businesses.
In the same spirit a national content policy has been drafted and is before cabinet for consideration. Government, through various agencies, oil companies and development partners are facilitated the skilling of Ugandans so that they are not technically kicked out of the industry.
Elly Karuhanga, the chairperson of UCMP said that it is the role of the private sector to create local content awareness by exposing the opportunities in the industry and preparing themselves to be able to execute these opportunities.
“Our job is to make an alarm that something is happening, that our economy is on fire, it is unstoppable and that nothing will ever stop Uganda from becoming a middle income country if not a donor country to the neighbors.
Uganda should be the hub of oil and gas industry for countries that have been endowed with oil and gas – in Sudan, DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya. So let’s train and skill our people.” Karuhanga told members of the Chamber who gathered for an evening of networking at the posh home of the Lalanis.