By Paul Kato
As government and the oil companies officials plan to resume working next month, they need to start by reviewing the compensation rates for the East Africa Crude Pipeline (EACOP) Project Affected Persons (PAPs) to avoid any disruptions.
Recently the media reported that EACOP PAPs from the districts of Rakai and Kyotera were complaining about the unfair compensation rates which were imposed on their land, crops, and other properties.
The aggrieved residents say the rates are not in line with the current market value of their properties.
The oil pipeline affected persons are frustrated because of the unfair compensations rates that were used by the government and the oil companies during the valuation processes of their properties.
This is likely to create misunderstandings between the developers and the PAPs hence resulting in the failure of project developments and loss of people’s livelihoods.
It is noted that some of the PAPs are disputing the compensation rates that were used to define the value of their properties because they are not proportionate compared to the accumulating land prices in the area.
This means that such little sums of money cannot be used to obtain similar land for resettlement in other areas.
The government started conducting the evaluation process of properties of the EACOP and finished product oil pipeline in 2018/2019 using the prices of that year.
Today the price of these properties such as land and crops have gone up but the government is still using the prices of 2018/2019 which are too low compared to the current market prices.
The oil companies and government need to review the compensation rates to settle the people’s hearts and put to end misunderstandings that could happen and fail the oil pipeline projects.
It should be noted that when that government and oil companies fail to review the compensation rates most of the PAPs will not manage to buy new land for resettlement and farming.
The government needs to learn from what happened to the oil refinery PAPs where many people todate are suffering because of the small money which was given to them during the oil refinery compensation process.
The expected EACOP project, snaking from Hoima in Western Uganda to Tanga port in Tanzania, will cross 10 districts such as Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyotera, Rakai among others in Uganda.
It will go through 27 sub-counties and 171 villages. The pipeline is estimated to be 1443km long of which 296km will be in Uganda.
It will require a 30metres right of way. This means the construction of the EACOP project is going to affect many families and their livelihoods.
Therefore, I call on the government of Uganda and the oil companies to review the compensation rates of PAPs in order to stop people from refusing the project.
Paul Kato is a research associate at Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO)
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