By Fred Kiva
Uganda and Tanzania have laid a foundation stone to commence construction works for the 1,445kilometer East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
The oil pipeline which runs from Kabaale in Hoima district to the Tanzanian Seaport of Tanga will be useful in
exportation of Uganda’s crude oil to the international market.
While officiating at the laying of the foundation stone on Saturday, President Yoweri Museveni urged Ugandans to take advantage of such oil infrastructural Projects for economic gain.
The President noted that oil may not directly benefit all people, urging communities to use indirect
avenues to reap benefits of the oil sector.
“We cannot give oil or distribute oil to everyone, but such projects will attract so many people and these people will need food and services. So you can start here,” the President said.
The East African Crude Oil Pipeline is expected to employ 10,000 people during construction stage alone.
Mr Museveni dwelt so much on his government’s efforts leading to the discovery of oil in the 1980s.
He explained that from the start, he realized that there was no local capacity to explore for oil, thus a
government decision to train the first Ugandans in petroleum studies.
The group among others includes former Ministry of energy Permanent secretary Fred Kabagambe Kaliisa and the current Acting Permanent Secretary Robert Kasande.
President John Pombe Magufuli, the President of Tanzania was represented by his Foreign Affairs Minister Augustine Mahiga, who commended President Yoweri Museveni for his efforts in the discovery of oil.
Mr Mahiga who studied with President Museveni at university also praised him for his Pan-African spirit.
“Even at University Museveni’s leadership was beyond the Ugandan community in Dar-es-Salaam University,” Mahiga said, adding that Uganda is privileged to have him.
Energy Minister Irene Muloni reiterated government commitment to making the oil story a blessing rather than a curse. She said government had put in place the necessary laws and regulation to ensure that oil is a blessing to Ugandans.
According to Minister Muloni, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline will be the longest in the world and will be critical in the commercialization of Uganda’s 6.5billion barrels of oil discovered in Uganda, on top of roads, airport and the oil refinery.
During the function, Buliisa County Member of Parliament Stephen Mukitale Birahwa highlighted the need for local content to ensure that the local people benefit from the oil sector.