Oil companies take over land for absentee landlords in Bunyoro

HOIMA – Government has okayed the oil companies to use the land purportedly owned by absentee landlords in the oil-rich Bunyoro sub region.

Through the Petroleum Authority of Uganda [PAU], government has recommended that the oil companies can rely on the Land Acquisition Act of 1965 to take over vacant land in certain areas of Bunyoro so as to beat the deadlines for the implementation of different oil projects.

The move comes at the time when oil companies are facing the challenge of absentee landlords who are supposed to be compensated but can not be traced, which has caused delays in some instances.

The Head of Corporate Affairs at CNOOC Uganda, one of the companies in the development activities in the region Zac Lubega told theCooperator that the decision to invoke the law and take over the land before compensating the landowners and users was taken to address the issue of slowness in the implementation oil projects.

“This has become one of the major challenges in the project life. Absentee land owners cannot be traced, but the project needs to progress, what do we do?” He wondered.

TotalEnergies and CNOOC Uganda Ltd are the leading petroleum companies at the centre of developing the oil fields to commercial production with a fast accruing deadline of 2025

Lubega said the issue of landlords who are not traceable has stopped several fronts of the project to progress, holding the local area leadership and the community liable but the waiting has been in vain.

He said efforts to trace landowners, especially in several townships in Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube districts were futile as most of the owners are suspected to have migrated to other townships and urban areas.

It should be recalled that the particular the 1965 Land Acquisition Act was challenged in the Constitutional court in 2014 by the cesidents along Hoima-Kaiso Tonya road when the Uganda National Roads Authority attempted to take over their land before Compensation.

Corporate Affairs Manager at PAU, Gloria Ssebikali, said the companies are not in bleach of any law, especially once they acquire the land after depositing an estimated value to the Courts of Law as required by the Act.

“At least according to the current Land Acquisition Act, it is not a bleach. It provides for compulsory acquisition by depositing the amount in court”. Ssebikali asserted.

She added: “The amendment that was being proposed was to make it a little more direct for a project to go on, as long as the Companies evaluate and deposit that estimated value with the court of law.”

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court found the Act inconsistent with Article 26(2) of the Constitution which provided for the speedy payment of a fair and adequate compensation prior to the take-over of a property.

The Supreme Court also held that Article 26 was not among the non-derogable rights, which does not give government powers to compulsorily acquire people’s property without prior payment, adding that such a government project is not categorised under disasters and emergencies.

In the Act okayed, the minister has powers to appoint a valuer for that particular contested property, and the process goes on which ends with a government take over.

This was revealed to the team from the Uganda Human Rights Commission who had gone for a guided tour to engage the project-affected communities, security agencies and other human rights defenders in Buliisa district.

The team led by Commissioner Crispin Kaheru had engagements with the different players and it was eminent that rights violations were tense in the region, with multiple accusations thrown at the security operatives in the region.

The communities accused the police and army of championing the acts of intimidation, especially on issues related to land rights and grabbing.

The engagements were attended by the district government representatives such as the Resident District Commissioner, District Internal Security Officer, District Community Development Officers, and the District Police Commander, whom Commissioner Kaheru implored to observe respect for human rights and desist from being used by land grabbers against the communities.

“Let’s have a meaningful dialogue between the leaders, the intending buyers, and the Communities to avoid the unnecessary crashes. Respect for the laws and rights,” Kaheru remarked.

The Oil Development project into a commercial phase currently stands at approximately 10 percent in parts of Kingfisher Development Area and is expected to be ready for crude oil production by 2025.

https://thecooperator.news/oil-companies-ready-to-invest-10-billion-dollars-in-oil-and-gas-sector/

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Museveni roots for 4-acre farming approach to boost household incomes

OMORO– President Museveni is rooting for small-scale commercial farming approach in order to boost household incomes in northern Uganda.

This comes at a time when the Acholi Sub-region, according to a survey by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics [UBOS], is the poorest in the country, despite boasting arguably of the most fertile land in the country.

While campaigning for Andrew Ojok Oulanyah, the National Resistance Movement Candidate for the Omoro County Parliamentary by-election, Museveni said the government is currently looking to boost household incomes using the 4-acre farming approach where a farmer can get at least Shs 100 million per year.

“Our mathematics of the 4-acre module, 1 acre for coffee, fruits (citrus and mangoes, pineapples, pasture for feeding the livestock and 4th acre for the food crop growing. In the backyard, one would put piggery, chicken for eggs, and fish farming for those around swamps,” Museveni explained.

According to Museveni, this approach will directly be assisted under the Parish Development Module under which each parish in the country will be getting a total of 100 million every financial year.

“We have had several interventions like NAADs, Operation Wealth Creation. But now we are giving money directly to your SACCOs to fund your various projects. This is aimed at improving household income in your homes,” the president noted.

He also noted that the government will support Andrew Ojok, if elected to replace his father and see that a few farmers are taken to Fort Portal for benchmarking to gain more modernized farming skills focusing on the various high income generating enterprises.

“We shall help Ojok to take some few people to Fort Portal to see how people are getting 250m in small pieces of acre in farming,” he said.

In recent interviews, locals in the district demanded the local leaders make deliberate efforts to establish cooperative societies for soybean farmers.

Catherine Lamwaka, the Omoro County Woman MP, appealed to Museveni to help direct the government to invest in improving the value chain in soybean production. In his response, Museveni said that the government would get investors to invest in the soybean value chain.

https://thecooperator.news/museveni-to-farmers-dont-overprice-milk/

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UIA organises Uganda-DRC Investment Promotion Summit and Market Access Expo

KAMPALA– Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, through Uganda Investment Authority [UIA], is organizing the first ever Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC]Investment Promotion Summit and Market Access Expo slated for June 27- 29th 2022.

The Summit, under the theme “Uganda-DRC Investment Promotion and Market Access”, will be held in the Congolese capital city of Kinshasa.

UIA is working with ACOPA-ONGd, the Congolese liaison entity that promotes investment and cross-border business in eastern DRC. The overall objective of the Summit and Expo is to promote and show case investment opportunities, create networks and joint venture partnerships aimed at enhancing investment and market access between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as to promote products manufactured in Uganda.

Speaking on May 23, 2022 at a press conference on the Summit at Uganda Media Centre, State Minister for Investment and Privatization, Evelyne Anite, said: “We are going to the DRC not for fun but very serious business of promoting investment and trade with Uganda. We are targeting five key sectors, namely, manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing, services, real estate and trade”.

Minister Anite said the Summit is also aimed at promoting the formalization of informal cross-border trade between Uganda and DRC that has been going on for years.

The State Minister for Regional Cooperation, John Mulimba, said “the entry of the DRC into the East African Community family provides an opportunity to Ugandan investors to access new markets and opportunities for growth”, adding that “the new EAC now offers a combined market-driven economy of 300 million people and a GDP of 243 billion dollars”.

The State Minister for Trade, Harriet Ntabazi, called on Ugandan investors and business to seize the investment and trade opportunities to make money and develop Uganda.

The UIA Director General, Robert Mukiza, said through the Summit and Expo, Uganda aims to attract a significant number of Congolese investors to come and set shop in Uganda, taking advantage of Uganda’s strategic location in the heart of the EAC bloc, as well as popularize Ugandan products in the DRC and expand and deepen their market share.

Mukiza said the Summit also aims at attracting more Foreign Direct Investment into Uganda, as the investors would use Uganda’s strategic location to access the expanded East African Community market of over 300 million people, from the Indian Ocean coast to the Atlantic Ocean coast.

Mukiza added: “We invite Ugandan investors and businesses to participate in this first ever Uganda-DRC Investment Promotion Summit and Market Access Expo because the dividends would be greater.”

The Chair of the Board of UIA, Morrison Rwakakamba, said the DRC provides the best investment and trade opportunity for Uganda, pointing out a catalogue of Ugandan products that need to get traction into the huge DRC market.

On April 9, 2022, UIA organised the highly successful West Nile Investment Summit in Nebbi District under the theme “Mobilisation of local investment for industrialization, market access and job creation”. The Summit attracted a high-powered delegation from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – the National Oversight Mechanism of the Framework Agreement, MNS, and members of the provincial Government of Ituri, and the ACOPA-ONGd, the liaison entity for promoting investment and cross border business in North-Kivu Province.

The West Nile Investment Summit connected with the political will of our two leaders, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, and his Congolese counterpart, Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi.

The West Nile Investment Summit accelerated a new era in the economic and commercial relations between our two respective State entities at this historic moment when the DRC joins the East African Community.

The Summit agreed on a number of key resolutions, worth noting is Resolution 4, which states thus: “To organize a reciprocal Investment Promotion and Market Access Expo in Kinshasa, on 27th and 28th of June, 2022, and an Investment Promotion summit on

June 29, 2022, in Kinshasa”. It is against this backdrop that Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, through UIA, and in collaboration with ACOPAONGd, is organizing the Uganda-DRC Investment Summit and Expo, that will take place in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, from 27th to 29th June, 2022 under the theme “Uganda-DRC Investment Promotion and Market Access”.

The overall objective of the Summit and Expo is to promote and show case investment opportunities, create networks and joint venture partnerships aimed at enhancing investment and market access between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as to promote products manufactured in Uganda.

The DRC, a new Member of the East African Community, has a market of over 100 million people, and is an important and growing market for Ugandan products. Through the Summit and Expo, UIA aims to attract a significant number of Congolese investors to come and set shop in Uganda, as well as other foreign direct investors, taking advantage of Uganda’s strategic location in the heart of the EAC bloc.

Through the Summit, UIA also aims at popularizing Ugandan products and services in the DRC, expand, and deepen their market share. Investors and businesses are invited to register in order to participate in the first ever Uganda-DRC Investment Promotion Summit and Market Access Expo because the dividends would be greater.

https://thecooperator.news/nebbi-district-to-host-west-nile-investment-summit-in-march-19-2022/

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UAE Ministry of Economy partners with ICA-AP to boost the co-op sector

DUBAI – The Ministry of Economy of the United Arab Emirates days ago signed a co-operation agreement with the International Cooperative Alliance – through the latter’s Asia-Pacific Regional Office [ICA-AP], which aims to strengthen the country’s co-operative sector.

According to media reports, the initiative is part of the government’s efforts to diversify the country’s economy and promote co-operatives as a tool to achieve sustainable development.

The ministry also intends to amend the country’s co-operative legislation to help grow the sector and raise awareness of the model. The ICA-AP team will provide support during this process, highlighting best international practices.

ICA-AP will work with the ministry to develop a long-term strategy for the national co-op sector, identifying challenges and suggesting measures to improve its performance.

The UAE is home to 42 co-ops, mostly in the retail sector, running 200 outlets and branches nationwide with a cumulative profit of more than one billion dirhams. The goal is to help set up co-ops in other sectors and increase their contribution to the country’s GDP from less than 1 percent at present to 5 percent by 2031.

The agreement was signed on 17 May by Abdullah Al Saleh, undersecretary of the ministry, and Balsubramanian Iyer, regional director, ICA-AP.

“The co-operative sector plays a pivotal role in achieving the goals of sustainable economic and social development for the United Arab Emirates, and is an important tributary to the competitiveness and diversification of the national economy,” said Mr Al Saleh. “To improve its performance in accordance with the best international practices and enhance its role in the new economic model of the country, the country has achieved regional leadership in developing the co-operative model and providing the environment and policies that stimulate its growth.”

UAE has recently allowed the listing and trading of co-operative shares in its financial markets. “We continue our efforts today to complete the development plan for the co-operative sector to take its deserved role as one of the drivers of diversity, sustainability, innovation, high productivity and the transformation towards the future economy in the UAE,” added Mr Al Saleh.

“Co-operatives align well with the UAE centennial pillars,” said Mr Iyer, “which call for the government to be supportive and future looking, building a diversified economy, promoting values in education, and building a happy and inclusive society.

“Through our engagement, we will bring in international experiences, and showcase relevant models from different countries. Our approach will be to help promote the co-operative model, increase awareness, help engage youth and women, build capacity and in the process increase visibility and contribution of co-operatives in the UAE.”

https://thecooperator.news/ica-joins-international-community-to-mark-international-day-of-argania-tree/

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