African Bank offers sh1.8b to support businesses for Crude Oil Pipeline

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  The African Development Bank is to provide  close to sh1.8 billion towards supporting businesses along the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline(EACOP)
A statement from the Petroleum Authority(PAU) said the government of Uganda and the African Development Bank signed the grant agreement for the project mid-last month in Kampala.   Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) business linkages project is expected to boost business linkages along the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) route.  
Small businesses along the EACOP route are expected to access new market opportunities through the creation of business linkages between Small and Medium enterprises with large national, regional, or international companies.  
A steering committee has since been established by the Petroleum Authority (PAU) to provide strategic guidance to implement the African Development Bank (AfDB) Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) business linkages project.  
The steering committee constitutes 5 members including a representative from the Association of Oil and Gas Service Providers, Ministries of energy and local government, and PAU.  
The members are Mr. Dennis Kamurasi, Vice-Chairperson, Association of the Oil and Gas Service Providers; Charles Felix Olarker, Assistant Commissioner District Inspection, Ministry of Local Government, Steven Sherura Bainenaama, Principal Petroleum Officer, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD,) and  Betty Namubiru, Manager, National Content.
Namubiru is to double as the project coordinator. The committee will be chaired by Peninah Aheebwa, also Director, Technical Support Services at PAU.  
The Steering Committee will guide AfDB in the execution of the project and ensure effective oversight through the review of regular reports and results of periodic project evaluations.
The committee will be supported by the AfDB country office which will oversee the work of the implementing partner and all the responsible parties.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Committee, PAU Director, Dr. Joseph Kobusheshe said it is crucial that Ugandans take advantage of the opportunities around the pipeline.
  “It is extremely important to note that the oil and gas sector in Uganda is broadening. In the next three to four years, a total of USD 15 billion of foreign direct investment is expected to support the development of the fields together with the midstream and support infrastructure that will lead to the first oil. These investments present enormous opportunities for value addition in the country, however, taking up the opportunities will require adequate preparation. We believe that the project will benefit from your wealth of experience, and we look forward to working with you,” he said.
At least 200 SMEs are targeted under the project, and these will be supported in ensuring that they meet large company’s supplier criteria as well as commercial bank lending requirements.
Dennis Kamurasi welcomed the project saying it will t will help build the capacity of the ‘local local’ companies within the ten EACOP host districts.
“There are many areas such as the supply of foodstuff among others, where these companies can equally participate. We will make sure that even the local people benefit.” He said  
The National Content Manager at PAU, Betty Namubiru said the discovery of oil and gas resources in the country and the planned investments are an opportunity for a significant economic upturn by the creation of new jobs and business opportunities.
  “However, the reality will be different if local MSMEs do not have the capacity and experience to participate. This explains why PAU came up with this initiative to build the capacity of the local companies in the host districts.” Said Namubiru  
Currently, the Expressions of Interest for the three main consultancies which are business development training, women and youth empowerment in business, development and delivery of business linkages have been prepared and the quarterly reports submitted. 

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