Implementers of EACOP project to give 30% project uplift to PAPs

HOIMA – Total Energies, one of the companies implementing the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project, has promised to give 15% annual project uplift to deal with the issue of delayed payment of Project Affected Persons (PAPs).

The implementation of EACOP project is by governments of Uganda and Tanzania represented by Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) and Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) respectively, Total Energies and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

The development of EACOP is being led by Total Energies on behalf of the shareholders. The contract will be executed by a joint venture comprising of two Ugandan firms: New Plan Limited and Industrial Compressor Services Limited (ICS Ltd) to develop and implement the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) to acquire land for the Uganda section of the EACOP project route.

This was revealed by Fred Bazarabusa, the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) for the EACOP project, during a meeting organized by Global Rights Alert to help the PAPs have an interface with the oil companies undertaking the EACOP project and the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) in regard to compensation issues from Hoima and Kikuube districts.

The PAPs led by their Chairman, Nelson Tibemanya, presented a petition to the oil companies, district leaders and PAU where they decried the delayed compensation coupled with under valuation of their properties.

The residents claim that the valuation was done in 2019 and the government stopped them from using the land earmarked for the project. In their petition, they claimed that prices of different properties including land have increased, adding that money earmarked for their property cannot replace what they are going to lose.

He described the compensation arrangement as fraudulent, full of irregularities, unfair and not transparent.

According to Resettlement Action Plan (RAP), conducted by Strategic Friends International, PAPs were given Shs 12m for an acre of land between Hoima and Mpingi districts but under the RAP conducted by New Plan Limited and Industrial Compressor Services Limited, they were offered Shs.6m for an acre within the same area.

They wondered how these discrepancies came about and suspected some foul play by the implementers of the project.

Stanley Ntagali, the retired Archbishop of the Church of Uganda who is also a PAP says, they are not against the project, but the government needs to address their concerns.

Ntagali expressed concern that some of the PAPS are being intimidated and warned oil companies and government officials adding that intimidation will not help the project to progress.

In response, Fred Bazarabusa said that PAPs will be given 30% project uplift as benefit for the elapsed two years without giving them their compensation.

“We are going to give them 30% project uplift of the total amount of compensation for each PAP as an incentive for the time they wasted waiting for their compensation. For example, if a PAP was valued at Shs100 million, his or her 30% project uplift will be Shs 30 million,” he explained.

He called on the PAPs to remain calm saying, all their grievances will be handled adding that EACOP officials are also carrying out a review along the EACOP route registering the grievances of the affected people.

He explained that after the exercise, they will come up with a supplementary valuation for all property such as crops, trees, graves and houses among others which will be added to the earlier valuation.

He added that after this exercise, the officials will conduct a review on land to ensure that all those with issues related to land get settled.

He further noted, as implementer of the EACOP project, they are committed to addressing all the issues raised by the PAPs to ensure that they get fair treatment.

Chris Emanzi, Director Program at Global Rights Alert said, the PAPs must be treated fairly to ensure inclusive development of the project.

According to him, 200 PAPs affected by the project have refused to open bank accounts where their compensation will be wired and 64 are from Hoima and Kikuube districts.

“If you the oil companies continue to ignore the people’s concerns, then you are going to lose social license of the community and the end result of this will not be good. We may experience confrontation and this is not what we want for this industry.”

Peter Banura, the Kikuube LCV Chairman said, there is an information gap between the PAPs and the government on several issues in the oil sector.

He noted that many are ignorant about the sector and called on the government and oil companies to conduct more sensitization to ensure transparency in the sector.

Benson Chich, the Hoima district Vice Chairman explained that unfair treatment of the PAPs and discrepancies in compensation rates need to be addressed adding that Uganda is likely to face challenges like those faced in Nigeria if the government and oil companies continue to keep a deaf ear on people’s concerns.

Kenneth Babihemaiso, an official from PAU advised the PAPs to write to the government Chief Valuer to come and explain what caused discrepancies in compensation.

He noted that as PAU, they are able to explain how this was done adding that only the government Chief Valuer can answer this issue.

EACOP is 1443km and in Uganda, the pipeline, 296 km long, will traverse 10 districts and 25 sub-counties.

In Tanzania, the pipeline, 1,147 km long will traverse 8 regions and 25 districts. The construction of the proposed crude oil export pipeline will cost Shs. 12 trillion and the pipeline will transport 400,000 barrels per day.

In total, 5,300 hectares of land will be required for the construction of the pipeline, which means that around 13,000 households will be displaced.

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