Kampala: The Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon. Amongi Betty Ongom, has vowed to ensure that women get a fair share of the jobs within the budding oil and gas sector.
The Minister noted that legislation is already in place to safeguard job placements for Ugandans as a priority but also for women as a demographic.
“We have the Mining and Minerals Act, 2022, that requires licensees, contractors or subcontractors in the sector to give priority of employment to Ugandan citizens but also recruit, train and promote Ugandans taking into account gender and equity,” The Minister said.
She made the observation while meeting the new French Ambassador to Uganda, H.E Xavier Sticker, at the Ministry headquarters in Kampala on Tuesday.
The meeting that was also attended by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Aggrey David Kibenge, delved on areas where the Ministry and the Embassy could strengthen cooperation including the areas of Gender equality and Labour and Employment.
Amongi noted that it was important for the employers in the oil and gas sector to be equitable in allocating jobs to steer sustainable development.
“This is a very strategic requirement both nationally and globally because it empowers women to make contribution to the development of their country.” She said.
The Ambassador revealed that there were 38 French companies headquartered in Uganda with a host of others operating on the basis of projects and contracts.He was glad to note that French companies including Total Energies were involved in Uganda’s burgeoning oil and gas sector and that technological and skills transfer was important to these companies as well as the empowerment of women and girls.
“When it comes to gender, we want to explore areas of cooperation in terms of promoting the rights of women, their employment and women economic empowerment,” Ambassador Sticker noted.
He commended the country’s Gender Policy, which serves as a cornerstone for programming around gender issues. He applauded the cooperation between Uganda and France that he said has lasted over 20 years and pledged that it can only grow stronger. On her part, Minister Amongi commended the French Government for standing up against the detractors who tried to run a sponsored campaign against the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
She revealed that Uganda recently finalized and launched the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights which promotes ethical business transactions with focus on a wide range of issues round the workplace. The Permanent Secretary, Mr. Kibenge said attention was also being directed to young women and girls out of school to skill them for economic empowerment.
“We have established regional skilling centers for young people to empower them with competencies for improved livelihoods. However we need to equip them with the necessary tools to tap into the opportunities out there including in the oil and gas sector,” Kibenge noted.
He hinted on an upcoming National Women Leader’s Conference to be held ahead of the International Women’s Day aimed at strengthening women’s role in governance.
“The conference will provide an opportunity for synergy and a review of the policy direction on women,” the PS added.