President says skilling-up not be left to oil companies
January 24—President Yoweri Museveni wants other private companies to share the costs with the government of skilling-up Ugandans seeking jobs in the country’s oil and gas industry and leave the oil companies to carry out their core activities.
“This will help in separating the oil business from the skilling businesses. If we allow the oil companies to train Ugandans and deduct the money once the oil is produced, this will reduce the final benefits. If however there are institutions that can put up these technical institutes, then they should do so immediately,” he said while giving his thoughts at the Skilling and Local Content Forum in Kampala early this week.
It was organised by the education and sports ministry together with the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) however several private and public institutions helped fund the event in Kampala.
Museveni said instead of oil companies being the ones to build institutions and train Ugandans, local and international private companies can set up institutions for training Ugandans and Ugandans would then be enrolled by sponsoring themselves or through government sponsorship.
The President said Uganda continues to lose considerable money to such countries as China through road construction projects, because Ugandan companies lack the skills and capacity needed carry out these projects.
“We have had to donate a lot of money to China and other companies that are contracted to do major construction works. However we have no choice because these projects cannot wait until we have our own capable companies,” he said.
He said,“It is the same with this upcoming project. Oil businesses need international certified workers. The local trained workers cannot be allowed to work on the oil pipelines, because of the high risk and it is going to take time for us to get well skilled and certified people to work in the oil sector”
As a budding oil producer, Uganda’s position is more concerning, because according to recent studies, including one done by Schlumberger Business Consulting, there is worldwide shortage of specialised personnel in the oil and gas industry. This has meant aging, but experienced people are retained by companies into their early sixties as more investment is made in new technology for some operations.
Not long ago, Ollie Pearce, Business Development Manager for the Anglophone Africa Region at Global Career Company said, “Nowhere is the ‘War for Talent’ fought harder than the oil and gas sector. With significant resources supporting their recruitment efforts, these firms are seeking to leverage every advantage they can find in the battle to bring the best candidates into their operations.”
Elly Karuhanga, the chairman UCMP noted that the polices to help Ugandans to benefit from the oil projects were in place but there was still a big gap in terms of the number of skilled qualified Ugandans that can work in the oil sector.
The oil contracts have been made in a way that these international oil companies are tasked to employ 70% of Ugandans in the first year of production and 90% in the third year. We have been sanctions for failure to do this however its now the lack of skill and certification that is going to pull us back” karuhanga said.
He further thanked the president and his government for putting a side a huge fund for skilling Ugandans
“The government has put aside 270 billion for skilling Uganda. $10m have been put aside for kigumba oil and petroleum institute. There are many opportunities for Ugandans according to the only challenge is that ugandans do not have the skills that are required for this jobs. $20b investment is expected the next 3 to five years.” Karuhanga said.
According to the Minister of energy Irene Nafuna Muloni, There are over 1,67000 jobs expected however the main challenge remaining is the high costs involved with international certification, a mismatch between international and national standard and lack of funds needs to put up training institutes
Dr. Elly Karuhanga, the UCMP chairman said the polices to help Ugandans to benefit from the oil projects were in place, but there was still a big gap in terms of the number of skilled qualified Ugandans that can work in the oil sector.
“The oil contracts have been made in such a way that these international oil companies are tasked to employ 70% of Ugandans in the first year of production and 90% in the third year. We have sanctions for failure to do this, however its now the lack of skills and certification that is going to pull us back,” Karuhanga said.
However he thanked the President and the government as a whole for putting aside a huge funds for skilling-up. “The government has put aside UGX 270 billion for skilling Uganda. Ten million dollars has been put aside for Kigumba oil and petroleum institute. There are many opportunities for Ugandans. The only challenge is that Ugandans do not have the skills that are required for these jobs; $20 billion investment (in the oil and gas sector) is expected the next three to five years,” Karuhanga said.
Energy minister, Irene Muloni said several hundred thousand jobs are expected, however the main challenge remaining is the high costs involved with international certification, a mismatch between international and national standards and lack of funds needed to put up training institutes.