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Uganda Oil Boosts Local Real Estates Industry

THE price for land and house rent in Hoima and Buliisa districts has more than trippled in the past six years. The development is attributed to the increasing number of people attracted by the discovery oil in the area.

According to residents, a lot of rich people are flocking the area to buy land in anticipation of a business boom in the near future.

The price of a 100mx50m plot in Hoima town now costs between sh250m and sh500m. Before the discovery of oil in 2004, such a plot was less than sh100m.

Grace Baguma, the director of B&K Estates Agency, says the price of commercial plots (100x100 metres) has risen to sh50m, from between sh10m to sh20m in the posh suburbs of Kijungu, Bujumbura and Lusaka. A standard plot of 100x50 metres costs between sh25m to sh30m, from sh15m.

In Kiryatete, Duhaga, Kinubu and Kyarwabuyamba, which are on the outskirts of the town, the price of a standard plot has gone up from sh2m to sh5m.

Buguma says a commercial building is between sh700m to sh1 trillion, up from sh150m, depending on the level of economic activity and development in the area. A residential house is between sh150m-sh300m, from about sh45m in Kijungu and Bujumbura.

To rent a single room on a commercial building in the town centre, one parts with sh1.5m to sh2.5m, from sh800,000 per year.

Moses Kaahwa, the director of Hoima Real Estates Agency, says the number of people looking for land in Busisi, Kibati and Kyarwabuyamba, where people didn’t want to buy land in the past years, has gone up drastically.

“People are now buying land even in areas where I didn’t expect them to put up houses in the near future,” Kaahwa says.

He adds that land on the shores of Lake Albert is between sh2m to sh5m per acre. The increase in population has also led to increased demand for food.

A resident with businesses in Kampala and Hoima observed that food and accommodation in Hoima were more expensive than Kampala.

George Bagonza, the district chairman, has on several occasions advised the people in Hoima to grow food crops on a large scale to tap into the increasing market.

There is also a boom in the transport sector. Many roads have been opened up by oil companies to link Hoima town to the landing sites on Lake Albert and other remote villages.

However, the rise in the prices of land, food and rent has hit-hard the low-income earners. Gerald Murungi, a taxi conductor on the Hoima-Kigorobya stage, says this will push many of the low-income earners like him out of the town. “To rent a single room in a slum was sh10,000 per month in 2006, but now it is sh20,000,” he says.

Murungi is, however, happy that the surging population has boasted the transport sector.

For the first time, there are taxis that commute from the town to various fishing villages in the district on a daily basis.

“The number of people travelling on the Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya and Hoima-Buliisa roads has increased. There were not taxis on Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya in the past, but today we have many of them and business is booming,” he adds.

Bagonza says that the oil discovery has made the once inaccessible areas on Lake Albert accessible since various roads have been opened up by the oil companies.

“People can now easily transport the fish products from the lake to the processing factories in Hoima and Kampala,” he says.

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