Uganda, Tanzania pipeline: DRC, Burundi wants inclusion

THE government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has shown willingness to use the Uganda-Tanzania Oil Pipeline set to be constructed in the country to transport crude oil from Kabale in Uganda to Tanga Port.

The Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, made the revelation in Dar es Salaam yesterday when opening a one-day meeting of ministerial Permanent Secretaries and Regional Commissioners from regions set to be involved in the course of the construction of the pipeline. Prof Muhongo said he was today expected to meet with the responsible minister from Congo to discuss how they would be involved in the project.

According to Mr Muhongo, Burundi is also expected to use the pipeline. He noted that the move by the government of DR Congo and Burundi to use the pipeline would be proper as the two countries would continue using the pipeline once Uganda Oil transport deal comes to an end.

He said the pipeline would also be used to transport oil from South Sudan. “The pipeline would be useful in the course of transporting oil from Lake Tanganyika if the search for oil in the lake is successful,” he said.

Meanwhile, the minister sounded a strong warning to residents against invading the lands that would be involved in the course of the construction of the pipeline. He said those who have invaded and others intending to do so should immediately pave the way as the government would not entertain anybody once construction starts.

“Those intending to invade should immediately stop as they would lose their money putting up houses and other infrastructure on land that would be used to construct the pipeline,” he said, tasking the RCs of the concerned regions to monitor the invaders.

He said research satellites would be used to establish those who would have invaded the construction lane land ahead of August, last year. “Those who will be found to have invaded the areas after August, last year - the start of the pipeline construction deal - will not be compensated,” he said.

He asked the RCs from the regions to be involved to provide the construction map of the pipeline in order to help abstain from unnecessary losses that they may incur in future. The pipeline to be constructed would pass through Kagera, Geita, Shinyanga, Dodoma, Manyara to Tanga.

He tasked the RCs to conduct awareness over the construction of the pipeline. In another development, Ugandans have started construction part of the project where they have provided 40 per cent shares of the project to five East African countries with each country holding eight per cent of the shares (150 million US-dollars).

Prof Muhongo said that plans were underway to involve private sectors to hold some shares (the eight per cent share for Tanzania) to supplement the government’s efforts in construction of the pipeline. Construction of the pipeline is scheduled to start in August, this year. It is expected to be completed before 2020.