President Museveni has this Sunday morning arrived in Chato, Tanzania for meetings with his counterpart, John Pombe Magufuli.
This is Museveni’s first trip outside Uganda since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.
The trip was announced by Tanzania’s State House.
Museveni’s arrival was covered live by state television.
The trip comes just two days after Government of Uganda and Total concluded and signed the Host Government Agreement (HGA) for the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.
The ceremony which took place at State House Entebbe was presided over by President Museveni, and witnessed by Mr. Patrick Pouyanne, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Total.
The President on Friday promised to get in touch with Magufuli, to resolve other pending issues, especially concluding the Host Government Agreement in Tanzania.
“I will get in touch with His Excellency Magufuli to follow up on Tanzania’s host agreement,” said Museveni.
Magufuli has been piling pressure on Uganda to expedite the oil pipeline deal.
“If President Museveni and I agreed to build a pipeline from Hoima up to Tanga; the world’s longest heated pipeline, there are a lot of things we had to sacrifice,” he said at a function attended by Museveni in 2019.
“It took us going to parliament to cut a portion of taxes payable to our government. Today, I was here asking (Mzee Museveni); why are you delaying this pipeline? Is it because of this small tax that you cannot agree upon? The tax itself is just Shs 600million, and yet you are looking at returns of up to $70billion that you expect. Just sacrifice this small tax; create the jobs, you will get money for a long time,” said Magufuli.
The conclusion of talks with Total will also boost Magufuli’s popularity ahead of Tanzania’s presidential election set for October, 2021.
Magufuli has promised Tanzania that the pipeline would be ready by 2019.
The Signing of the HGA signified that the oil companies (represented by Total) and Government have reached agreement on the commercial framework for the Lake Albert Development Project.
It also represented significant progress towards achieving the Final Investment Decision which is expected by the end of this year.
The oil pipeline will start in Buseruka sub-county, Hoima District, and run for 1,445km to the Tanzania port city of Tanga.
The EACOP will hire approximately 10,000 during the construction phase.
This includes skilled workers, semi-skilled workers, and casual workers.
During the construction phase of the proposed EACOP project, indigenous casual workers will be employed from each district the pipeline passes from Hoima in Western Uganda to Port Tanga in Tanzania.
This is expected to improve the development of local capacity through technology transfer. Also, the proposed EACOP will create short-term employment of about 2- 3 years for welders, heavy equipment operators, truck drivers, mechanics, site engineers, construction manager and construction laborers and more.
Uganda’s High Commissioner to Tanzania, Richard Kabonero on Saturday told ChimpReports that the conclusion of talks between Kampala and oil companies was a huge milestone for the region.
“There is almost $20bn investment in the oil sector and the private sector stands to benefit a lot,” said Kabonero who has been attending meetings aimed at spearheading the project.
“It is a milestone to finally be heading to the FID and getting this regional project on a fast track to implementation thereby unlocking opportunities for East African citizens,” he emphasised.