E XECUTION of Uganda-Tanzania crude oil project is progressing well and construction works will start soon after conclusion of the talks.
Energy Minister, Dr Medard Kalemani (pictured) said the Tanzanian side has already completed the geological and geophysical researches, noting that experts were proceeding with excavation of the oil pipeline trenches.
Dr Kalemani, speaking to reporters after the third ministerial meeting for the sectors that oversee the project from Tanzania and Uganda in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, said specific works were done in Tanga and Manyara regions and continue in Dodoma's Kondoa district.
"The environmental impact assessments have been completed and compensation and social welfare arrangements in areas which will be affected by the project have been completed... the construction will start after conclusion of the discussion," he said.
"You should inform the public that this project is not stalled... in fact we are working hard to have it completed on time as planned," he saidcharging that the project has not been delayed because it has already started and was being implemented in phases.
"We signed the agreement last year and started to secure land and paying compensation for Tanga side... we have completed the environmental survey, we have established the capacity of the pipeline and we are now excavating the pipeline trenches," he said.
Commenting on the ongoing discussion, the minister said that they have given themselves until January 17 next year to conclude the talks. He clarified that the talks are supposed to benefit both countries and have to be carefully conducted.
Dr Kalemani said that there were various steps to take to safeguard the nation's interests, including involving various stakeholders like identifying local companies and build their capacity to benefit from the project.
The minister further said that there were some targeted Tanzanian societies to benefit from the project and there were some revenues generated from the project that will be channeled to the national coffers and the discussions should consider all the procedures if the project has to benefit the nation.
He said during their talks with the Ugandan delegation led by Energy and Mineral Development Minister, Engineer Irene Muloni, they agreed that each country should ensure that it oversees the fast-tracking of the basic arrangements for the project to be implemented speedily.
"We have agreed that all preparation procedures be completed by next year so that we can proceed with the construction works," he said. Eng Muloni said that they have resolved to speed up the project preparations to allow construction works to start soon.
Construction of the 1,403-kilometre pipeline to transport crude oil from Hoima in Uganda to Tanga Port in Tanzania is scheduled for completion by June 2020. The project is expected to cost four billion US dollars (about 8.7tri/-).