Breaking

Hope For Revaluation of Pipeline Affected Persons Fades

Many of the Project Affected Persons-PAPs in the districts of Lwengo, Kyotera, Rakai and Gomba have repeatedly demanded a second evaluation exercise before the actual construction works begin. They argue that their properties have gained value since 2018 when the first assessments were conducted.
A disclosure of the Chart for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Chart

Audio 5

The plans for the assets revaluation process has faded out for persons affected by the proposed East African Crude Oil Pipeline as project implementers move to fast-track its implementation.

The two host governments of Uganda and Tanzania, together with other shareholders are working towards developing a crude oil export pipeline running from Uganda’s oil field in Hoima to the refinery at the coast of Tanga in Tanzania.

As results, a total of 3,792 people in ten districts in Uganda living within the demarcated route of the proposed pipeline were put to notice of receiving compensation for their properties that will be destroyed to pave way for the construction works.

However, many of the Project Affected Persons-PAPs in the districts of Lwengo, Kyotera, Rakai and Gomba have repeatedly demanded a second evaluation exercise before the actual construction works begin. They argue that their properties have gained value since 2018 when the first assessments were conducted.

Steven Kakembo, one of the PAPs in Gomba district argues that although they are now optimistic of getting their due compensation three years later, it is proper that their properties are re-quantified basing on the present market value.

Kakembo says that the affected persons were not promptly compensated yet they were asked to stop using the properties as soon as the demarcations were done, which interrupted their land utilization plans. 

In other insistences, the demands for revaluation is instigated by claims of undervaluation during the first phase of the exercise; where the PAPs accuse the valuation and route demarcation contractors of carrying out the work in a rush hence making omissions while compiling inventories of the properties to be affected. 

However, Uganda Radio Network has learnt that the project implementers cannot yield to the demands for revaluation if the pipeline project is to be implemented on schedule.  

Fred Bazalabusa, an Officer of Charge of land acquisition processes at the East African Crude Oil Pipeline-EACOP project, says the evaluation process was already closed out and it is so unlikely that it can be redone.

He indicates that the work was done by competent contractors whose reports have already been approved by the responsible government entities that have issued a go-ahead to the project to be fast-tracked.

Bazalabusa, says that with the recent approval of the Resettlement Action Plan-RAP; a key step in the implementation of the project, the government was convinced that the evaluation exercise was properly done, arguing that claims of undervaluation are unfounded because the project implementers had not made disclosures of entitlements to the RAPs; a second step their teams are soon undertaking.

//Cue in: “about three weeks….

  Cue out; …. valuation reports.”// 

To cater for the three-year time lapse between the evaluation stage and actual compensation which is expected before August this year, Bazalabusa indicates, that the Project Management Teams, the developers, and the government are negotiating on possibilities of making top-ups on compensation figures arrived at in the reports of the Chief Government Valuer. 

  //Cue in: “apparently the project ….    

Cue out; …. Village disclosures”//. 

Besides the compensation, the process of land acquisition for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline has also been faced with unforeseen controversies before its implementation.   A section of PAPs in the Lwengo and Kyotera districts backed by Civil Society Organizations are also opposed to the proposed taking over of the project affected land in perpetual ownership by the government.  


Joseph Birimuye, one of the PAPs living Kabira sub-county in Kyotera district, and Yisito Kayinga Muddu the programs coordinator of Community Transformation Foundation Network (COFTONE); a member of Civil Society Coalition on Oil and Gas, want the government to sign lease agreements with the Project Affected Persons, to have their land rights protected and recovered in the future once the project is concluded.

According to Birimuye, such an arrangement (lease offers) will allow their descendants to also benefit from the land of their parents in the future.

These also argue that the project Resettlement Action Plan-RAP framework reports need reviews to conform to the current demands and changes that have since occurred.

//Cue in: “these RAPs lack….   

  Cue out; ….never heard.”//

Luganda  

//Cue in: “endagaano bazitujjako…..   

  Cue out: …..bali ku mmeeza emu.”//

But Isaac Kabuye, a Legal Consultant at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda-PAU, the regulatory arm of the project says that arrangement of land acquisition and resettlement of RAPs were made in the best interest of the project and citizens to prevent avoidable encumbrances on either side.

He says that before undertaking the project, the government carried out wider consultations about the management of the Oil and Gas sector, calling upon citizens not to worry about the developments. 

  //Cue in: “first of all….   

  Cue out; ….to go that route.”//