Refinery compensation exercise behind schedule
At least forty percent of the property owners in the proposed oil refinery area in Hoima District have not received their compensation, as the exercise enters its second year, several months behind schedule.
Compensation of the 2473 people in Kabaale parish whose land and property falls within the 29 square kilometers of land that the government has earmarked for the construction of the country’s first refinery and related infrastructure started early July last year and was expected to be completed by March this year.
According to the Refinery Project Spokesperson, Bashir Hangi, the exercise has been delayed by the high number of complaints from the affected persons, as well as the strict accountability measures therein to minimise losses.
“The project is audited at every stage and all complaints raised by residents must be handled on the spot. We must seek approval from the CGV (Chief Government Valuer) before moving to the next step,” he explained.
“This exercise involves a lot of money and it is carried out by multiple government agencies. For instance, Bank of Uganda pays money and it (the payments) is not the only thing they do. All bodies involved in the RAP (Resettlement Action Plan) process have other equally competing priorities,” Mr. Bashir added.
He said that the exercise will end next month.
Court case to be heard this week
Meanwhile, court in Kampala will this Friday rule on a petition filed by the uncompensated residents to force government to pay them immediately and also halt evictions of people until they have been fully compensated.
However, Mr. Hangi denies that people who have not been paid are being evicted.
“Some people have multiple property in different villages but we clear off village by village. So when a person receives payment in a specific village, they get a notification to vacate that paid land. We go ahead to verify before issuing a vacation notice,” he told Oil in Uganda.
He further reveals that government would soon start constructing houses for those residents that opted for relocation.
79 people chose to be relocated and government will construct three-bed roomed houses for them in Nyakabingo parish, Buseruka sub county in Hoima.
Government is also in advanced stages of selecting a contractor for the refinery. Only two of the six firms that had originally expressed interest in the project remain in the race. The successful bidder is expected to be announced soon.
The refinery is to be established under a public private partnership (PPP) arrangement with the Uganda government holding up to 40% equity in the project.
Report by Flavia Nalubega