The Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), together with the Ministry of Health and the Uganda Health Federation (UHF), held their first joint conference to discuss investment opportunities in the oil and the gas sector while highlighting the standards expected. The 1-day engagement attracted 280 private-sector health practitioners.
“The sector needs to continue working extensively under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative, which has already yielded results,” said Minister for Health Jane Ruth Aceng in her opening remarks.
The Ministry of Health recently created a new department of Health Sector Partners and Multi-Sectoral Coordination to specifically coordinate the PPP initiative and create an enabling investment environment.
A joint technical working group is also in place to plan, research, enhance capacity development, monitor, and evaluate PPP activities to harness development initiatives with the other sectors of the economy including oil and gas.
Aceng also informed the conference participants that the ministry prepared a comprehensive policy and strategy on emergency medical services that is before cabinet. This was done to allay fears around Uganda’s preparedness for emergency medical services. Certification of emergency medical service workers has also been incorporated into the strategy.
“In order to improve on the quality of the output for the PPP, however, I urge you to link your health information management systems to the ministry’s to improve our planning as partners,” she said.
Aceng said that the ministry will harness its leadership and guidance to ensure that the health sector is prepared to take advantage of the investment opportunities in the Albertine Graben.
Ernest Rubondo, the executive director of the PAU emphasised the need for other sectors to be economically stimulated. He said the high standards required of the industry should not be a hindrance to investment.
“The revenues from the sale of crude oil are not the only benefits the oil and gas industry presents. It is through the participation of other industries that lasting value will be created. Therefore, it is paramount to understand what the new opportunities are and those that can be enhanced,” he said in a statement from PAU.
The PAU is also harnessing linkages with other sectors of the economy such as education, agriculture, and tourism in addition to the health sector to prepare the sectors to reap the benefits from the oil and gas activities.
“We acknowledge that a lot needs to be done for the sectors to tap the opportunities; however, the journey starts with knowledge. Registration on the National Supplier Database is one of the low-hanging fruits that can be accomplished immediately in preparation,” Rubondo said.
Gideon Badagawa, executive director of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda in his keynote address welcomed the engagement as timely and relevant to the private business community to guide in the preparation of viable business plans with return on investment.
“We need information that can lead to investment decisions,” he noted. He called upon the government of Uganda to consider linking the overall investment plans for the oil and gas sector to other key sectors including health.
The conference also featured experiences from Ugandan businesses already providing healthcare services to the international oil companies operating in the Albertine Graben.
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