PAKWACH. Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) officials have challenged potential businessmen and women along the Albertine graben of laxity in the fulfilment of necessary requirements to benefit from opportunities accruing from oil and gas in the country.

The officials were addressing members of the business community from Pakwach and Nwoya districts at the National Content Conference at Purongo Seed secondary schools last week on their readiness to ably compete for the business opportunities in the oil and gas sector.

The meeting was held under the theme "Building the competitiveness of Ugandan for the oil and gas industry in Uganda".

Ms Betty Namubiru, the manager National Content at PAU said the two districts are predominantly in the informal sector, a barrier that has left them not registering with Uganda registration Service Bureau to qualifying them to supply items to the company.

"The businessmen here are totally relaxed, how can you compete nationally if you have not registered in the National database, laziness will make us labourers in our land forever", she added.

With oil and gas sector entering a phase of transition from the initial exploration to other phases, local opportunities such as transportation, land surveying, the supply of food and beverages as well as supplying of locally available construction materials are some of the opportunities locals would benefit from.

But conditions such registration of their businesses with Uganda Revenue Authority and Uganda Registration Services Bureau, payment of the National Social Security Fund for employees of the informal sectors and entry into National database have been cumbersome for some of the local business community in the region.

According to Mr Charles Ocici the executive director Enterprise Uganda, "this is a wake-up call, stop giving excuses and there's no time, massive money with dense population will be here in the country, don't be surprised that a foreigner becomes a supplier as you watch", he said.

Mr Charles Ocici 15 06 19

He advised the district leadership of Pakwach and Nwoya to urgently channel resources towards mindset change and capacity building.

"Let's look beyond the good infrastructure set to be established, we should aim at building business assets and structures to favourably compete at all levels" he advised.

Mr Abraham Waba, the Pakwach district business Community chairperson said the challenges call for concerted efforts advising the business communities to quickly register as an Association and liaise with different community development officers to supply local investors through a different existing government program.

According to statistics from Uganda Bureau of Statistics, an estimate of 160,000 jobs will be created of which 13,000 will be direct jobs, 65% of these jobs will be for technicians, 20% at managerial and 15% basic skills.