Hoima — President Museveni has asked people in the oil-rich Bunyoro region to tap into the benefits accruing from the oil and gas industry.
The President was on Saturday addressing a rally in Kabaale parish, Buseruka sub county in Hoima district during the launch of the East African Crude oil pipeline project, a function that was also attended by the Omukama of Bunyoro Kitara Dr Solomon Gafabusa Iguru 1.
"This project will have many workers who will need jobs, clothes, food and accommodation. Tap such opportunities" Museveni said atop a military jeep.
Bunyoro region will host the proposed oil refinery which is expected to produce at least 60,000 barrels of oil per day, an airport, tarmacked roads, airfield pipelines that will bring crude oil from various oil wells to the refinery and the East African crude oil pipeline which will cover a distance of 1,444 kilometres.
President Museveni and the Tanzanian foreign affairs Minister Dr Augustine Mahiga laid a foundation stone of the crude oil pipeline that will transport crude oil from oil fields in the Albertine graben to Tanga Port in Tanzania.
The Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli who started a three day official state visit on Thursday, skipped the Hoima function but he was represented by Dr Mahiga who led a team of senior politicians and technocrats from Tanzania.
"We are here to recall the rich history of Bunyoro that appears in all history books of Africa. You are custodians of this oil resource. You have shown us that in the rift valley, there is a hidden treasure," said Dr Mahiga.
Uganda lucky to have Museveni
He said Uganda is lucky to have a leader like President Museveni whom he described as a Pan-Africanist, statesman, charismatic and confident leader.
"He has demonstrated that he is a liberator and a Pan-Africanist. Uganda has had other leaders but it is during his time that he discovered what others had failed," he added.
According to Dr Mahiga, the Tanzanians see President Museveni as another Julius Nyerere.
He is a president who rewards success, love, commitment and honesty. Those are the values Nyerere had, Mahiga added.
President Museveni who underscored the importance of wealth creation said people who joke with him make a big mistake.
Uganda's Energy minister Irene Muloni said the crude oil pipeline from Hoima district to Port Tanga will be the longest in the world and will enhance trade and industry between Uganda and Tanzania.
Due to Uganda getting closer to commercial oil production, Muloni said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has invited Uganda to attend its meetings in an observer status.
The pipeline construction is expected to create over 10,000 new jobs during its construction and 160,000 jobs during the commercial oil development stage.
Muloni said Uganda, Tanzania and their partners have agreed to fast track oil developments.
The Permanent secretary in the Energy ministry Mr Robert Kasande said during the oil exploration phase, 3.2 billion dollars was spent, out of which over 900 million dollars was spent on local suppliers.
In the next three years, we expect expenditure of not less than 15 billion dollars during the oil development stage, he added.
"Government is doing all it can to sensitize our people, build their capacities so that if only 40% of the contracts are given to Ugandans, they will earn about 6 billion dollars," he said.