– A consortium of five organizations has today commissioned two studies to define business opportunities in the agriculture, and housing sectors linked to Uganda’s emerging oil and gas economy, a day after government signed the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the crude oil pipeline, Tilenga and Kingfisher Oil development projects.
The Consortium of partners includes Stanbic Bank Uganda, aBi Finance, Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), Stanbic Properties Limited, and the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU)—– the government agency that monitors and regulates the exploration, development, production, together with refining, transmission, and storage of petroleum in Uganda.
In one of the agreements signed today in Kampala, Stanbic Bank, aBi Finance, and PAU have agreed to collectively invest over UGX350million to contract the services of EPRC “to define the linkages between Agriculture and oil and sector Development in Uganda.”
The study is expected to estimate the current and future demand and supply, assess status of standards, as well as active agricultural enterprises with potential to harness capacity to ably absorb emerging opportunities linked to the oil and gas economy which is expected to drive demand as the country enters production phase.
Based at Makerere University, EPRC is think-tank specializing in economics and development policy-oriented research and analysis aimed at supporting the formulation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of government policies.
Defining housing needs
In the second agreement, PAU has contracted Stanbic Properties Uganda Limited to ‘undertake a baseline study and project the future supply and demand of housing, cost and availability of land, cost and availability of building materials and housing preferences and delivery systems in the Albertine region.’
Stanbic Properties will also analyze the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, risks, and threats in the housing market in the Albertine region and the identified EACOP districts, to establish the current feasible incentives along the housing value chain provided by government, non- government entities and the private sector which can complement investment.
In the agreement, Stanbic Properties has also committed to undertaking studies to help identify areas with land available for housing development and the modalities of land acquisition by investors; and to develop a housing strategy action plan with costed measures, an implementation road map, and an implementation process map for the realization of identified opportunities.
Mr. Ernest Rubondo, PAU Executive Director said: “Once completed, the study will be a very useful item in our policy tool-kit. As the regulator, we are always looking out for ideas that ensure greater local participation in the oil and gas sector. The supply of foodstuffs is one area where local farmers can become key players. However, this will require them to commercialize their farming methods, particularly by getting together and forming partnerships amongst themselves to benefit from economies of scale that enable higher output to meet the expected high demand.”
Ms. Emma Mugisha, the Stanbic Bank Executive Director said: “the signing of these agreements today couldn’t have come at a better time when government has just the Final Investment Decision on EACOP, opening the stage to opportunities worth billions of shillings; while all this is exciting news, it is important for local investors to be guided by research to help them make informed investment decisions. We are therefore pleased to be part of the solution and looking forward to helping Ugandans get the most of agriculture sector opportunities linked to the oil and gas economy.”
Ms. Mona Muguma-Ssebuliba, Chief Executive, aBi Finance said, “We are always supportive of initiatives that offer improved profitability, income and employment of Ugandan farmers and development of agribusinesses. When finished, the study will hopefully guide in future as to where aBi can make interventions that create the most positive impact for farmers in the vicinity of the oilfields.”
Mr. Sabiiti Spencer, the Stanbic Properties Chief Executive said: “We are excited to embark on this important work on behalf of PAU. Our scope is clear—-study the real estate market and analyze all real estate segments (Residential, Office, Retail, Hotel and Industrial) in the 10 EACOP districts; these include Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Sembabule, Lwengo, Kyotera and Rakai as well as the neighboring districts of Masindi and Pakwach. The study will focus on the following areas.”
Mrs. Dorcus Okalany, Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development said: “There is an apparent need to align the housing interests with the demand that will arise from the oil and gas sector. Housing is very critical for Uganda, and we believe this study will define the gaps and needs in the housing sector”.
Ms. Irene Batebe, Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development said: “To ensure that, there is maximum benefit to the economy as envisioned by this study, this therefore calls for the need to have clear strategies informed by empirical data on how sectors such as housing and agriculture can be linked to the oil and gas sector”.
Mr. Muhwezi Deus, Commissioner Extension Services – Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries said: “Agriculture is the major end user of the oil and gas sector. An opportunity to add value to the agricultural sector in an informed manner is greatly welcome”.