It’s morning and rain clouds from the previous night still hang over the town. We might be having some showers anytime soon. You see, Hoima sits in a geographic area humped with numerous gigantic and low lying hills with the former almost being mistaken for mountains due to their altitude. An appreciation of the magnificent landscape can be got from the vantage of one of the hills.
Until a fews ago, am told by a native, there wasn’t much development in the town and all there was were remnants of an old colonial era styled town with few modern structures. Some one even attributed this slow development to a colonial era policy of ‘punishing’ rebellious areas by not spurring development in those areas with ‘friendly’ areas like the central region and others benefiting the most, and stretched into the subsquent years.
But that changed with the advent of the news of commercially viable deposits of oil being discovered in the region. Along side
government’s efforts to exploit this mineral, the news kicked up dust about the economic potential of the region.
The discovery of oil and the on-going efforts to exploit it has earned Hoima a place among the list of ‘oil cities’ and Uganda as a country to be branded an oil nation, joining it’s peers in the region and the world at large.
With the above discovery, immence opportunities have been opened up for the natives of the region, Bunyoro and the country as a whole. Those who have positioned themselves to tap into these opportunities stand to benefit while others are likely to stay on the side lines.
With such a positive outlook for the town and the region as a whole, going foreward, it would be a delusion to think that there are no challenges being faced by this town in it’s effort to live up to it new found name- an ‘oil city.’ For the one year now that I have lived in Hoima, I have found these areas wanting and needing greate improvement.
»Unreliable water and electricity supply
Constant power outages witnessed by the many generators that stand at the entrances of many business premises that evokes memories of Kampala a few years back that was lined by generators rumbling away in noisy traffic along Kampala road. It’s now less common, however. Since my arrival in Hoima, I can count the days when I had power throughout the day uninterupted. I have come to believe that having electricity wire connection running to your premises and paying your Yaka fees is no gaurantee that you’ll have power.
Having said that, I am also optimistic and supportive of efforts being made to address the above.
»An expencive town
My colleagues and I often prefer to make. Sizeable purchases of items from Kampala. The reason is that prices are close to three times over those of Kampala.
»An Enterprising Town
A walk in the streets of Hoima and you won’t fail to notice the many shops and businessess operating in the town. From the boutiques that line various sections of the town to Boda Boda riders that pass by. It gives the town synergy and vibrancy. It’s as though Hoimans are on the look out and ready to take advantage of any opportunity that may arise.
Hoima town faces a number of challenges not least of them being many unemployment of it’s youths. It also has a long way to go to catch up with it’s peers in the region in terms of development and status. The discovery of oil has been a shot in the arm and will greatly leverage it’s ability to combat the many challenges that await it as well as take advantage of the opportunities that abound and only wait to be tapped.