In yet another significant stride in Uganda’s partnership with Tanzania in oil development, President Yoweri Museveni and President John Pombe Magufuli of Tanzania have laid a cross-border mark stone in Kyotera district where the pipeline will cross the two countries.
President Magufuli who arrived in Uganda on Thursday had earlier launched a One Stop Border Post at the Mutukula border with President Museveni before addressing a joint rally at Kyotera District Headquarters grounds.
President Magufuli is in Uganda for a three-day state visit and is accompanied by his wife Janeth Magufuli, Ministers and other senior officials of the Tanzanian government.
The laying of the mark stone at Kyotera is in fulfilment of the joint commitment by both governments of Uganda and Tanzania to implement the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.
Uganda has been fast tracking processes ahead of its ambitious plan to produce its first commercial oil in 2020.
Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart later held bilateral talks at Masaka State Lodge on a wide range of regional and international issues, largely economic related.
A joint communique issued by the two Heads of State after the talks notes that on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, the Inter-Governmental Agreement had been ratified by both countries, and that the Front End Engineering Design Study had been completed.
“In this connection, they directed their respective Ministers to complete the remaining processes so that construction of the pipeline begins in 2018 and is expedited with a view to completion before the projected 2020 timeframe,” the joint communiqué read.
The bilateral talks also touched on the ongoing cooperation between the two countries on oil exploration in the United Republic of Tanzania and directed their respective Ministers and the Technical Teams to continue the exploration work being undertaken.
The two Presidents also exchanged views on the proposal to develop a gas pipeline between Tanzania and Uganda and directed their respective Ministers to undertake the necessary preparatory work.
Beyond oil development, Uganda and Tanzania are looking to partner in cross-border energy projects. During Thursday’s bilateral talks, the two leaders asked their Ministers to ensure that the soon to commence works on the Kikagati/Murongo Hydro Power project are completed on time.
Relatedly, both parties acknowledged the need to quickly implement the Nangoma cross-border electrification project and the Nsongezi Hydro Power 35 MW project in order to ease power problems and improve livelihoods of the citizens.
They also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Cooperation between Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation and Uganda Broadcasting Corporation as well as an MOU between the Uganda Police Force and the Tanzania Police Force on Security Matters.
In regards to regional security, both Presidents shared views on the political problem in Burundi and how crucial it is that all parties participate in an all-inclusive dialogue so as to find a durable solution to the crisis.
President Magufuli commended the efforts being made by Museveni in his capacity as mediator and the facilitator, former Tanzanian President Benjamin William Mkapa in the negotiations.