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Oil Discovery Changes Bunyoro's Real Estate Sector

Robert Mwanguhya, the Hoima district physical planner says projects have brought in workers who need accommodation in an area which was once deserted and visibly has a shortage of accommodation facilities. These projects are expected to employ as many as 100,000 people in the construction phase and up to 2,000 in full-time jobs.
A House undergoing construction along Hoima Prisons road in Hoima town.

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The discovery of Oil and the construction of major roads in Bunyoro sub-region have given a boom to the real estate sector Hoima district.

Commercial deposits of oil were announced in the area in 2006 and according to government records, Uganda has 6.5 billion barrels of oil, with 1.4 billion barrels thought to be recoverable after exploration of only 40 percent of the entire Albertine Graben.

In preparation for the exploration of oil in Uganda, the government has embarked on key infrastructural development projects among them major roads from Hoima to Buliisa, Kigumba to Kyenjojo and an international airport in Kabaale, which is expected to facilitate movement of heavy, bulk and sensitive cargo. These projects bring in multitudes of people, in search for jobs and opportunities every day.

Government and joint venture partners - Total E&P Uganda, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) Ltd and Tullow Operations Pty Ltd have also lined up a number of infrastructure projects needed in the oil production phase. These include; construction of Central Processing Facilities (CPFs), feeder pipelines, and the 1,445 km East African Crude Oil Pipeline Project (EACOP) among others.

Robert Mwanguhya, the Hoima district physical planner says these projects have brought in workers who need accommodation in an area which was once deserted and visibly has a shortage of accommodation facilities. These projects are expected to employ as many as 100,000 people in the construction phase and up to 2,000 in full-time jobs.

Patrick Busobozi, a real estate broker says the demand for houses has gone up and so has the cost. As a result, there is an increase in the demand for land surveying, mapping and valuation services, implying that many people want to establish rentals, according to Busobozi.

Busobozi says this signals the beginning of the sector boom, adding that it is likely to pick up as more infrastructure projects come up.

Paddy Irumba, a resident of Hoima town says the boom in the real estate sector will also have a profound impact on the cost of land. He says land prices have already gone up in areas where the government plans to construct Uganda's first oil refinery.

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In 2010, an acre of land in that area (Buseruka) was less than a million Shillings but now goes for 20 million Shillings. It is speculated that the cost will continue to go up as demand increases at peak production of oil.

Francis Musiime, a Development Planner and Hoima municipal Economist explains that once such projects are completed, the number of people that will want to reside or establish businesses in such areas will increase hence increasing demand and supply.

Nelson Jimmex Businge, the deputy mayor for Hoima town urges the indigenous people not to sit and wait but also invest in the sector to benefit, adding that oil will not bring direct benefits to the residents.

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Businge told Uganda Radio Network that not everybody will be employed in the oil sector but what one supplies there is what will be crucial to an individual and local economy and therefore calls on the business community to embrace the real estate project.

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