Civil societies operating in Bunyoro have expressed concern about the money budgeted by government for the environmental Impact Assessment in oil rich Albertain region saying it is too little.
While presenting the budget on Thursday last week, Maria Kiwanuka, the minister of finance said government had allocated 3 billion shillings for the environmental impact assessment in the Albertine rift for the new financial year. It comes at a time when civil societies and the opposition are blaming government for caring less to monitor the likely effects of the oil exploration activities on the environment.
Civil society activities in Bunyoro have welcomed the decision by government to budget funds for environmental impact assessment saying it partly answers their long held concern. They however say the money is less given the magnitude of environmental issues in the Albertine rift. Michael Busobozi, the Program Assistant African Institute for Energy Governance-AFIEGO says the money is too little to cover the whole Albertine rift that stretches from Amuru to Ntoroko. He asks government to consider allocating more money.
Beatrice Rukanyanga, the coordinator Kwataniza Women Farmers, an advocacy group in Buseruka Sub County says three billion shillings is so little to make an impact. She says there is need for strict monitoring to ensure the money is not only spent on paying staff allowances.
Kyabooga Kakiiza, the publicity secretary Bunyoro Local Oil Advocacy Group-BLOAG says since this money is little it must be channeled through civil society. Kakiiza says Civil Societies are so much in touch with the people and the issues that concern them compared to government.
Fishermen on Lake Albert have of recent complained of the dwindling fish catch which they party blame on oil activities. There has also been a rumor that wild animals in the Buguungu and Kaiso-Tonya wildlife conservation areas are running away. An environmental impact Assessment would help to clarify on such issues that fill minds of the communities in the area.