THE discovery of oil in Uganda sends a strong message to African countries to invest in scientific research, for them to be able to discover and effectively exploit natural resources, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Co-operation, Dr Augustine Mahiga said yesterday.
The Minister was speaking during the laying of foundation stone for the crude oil pipeline at Hoima in Uganda where he represented President John Magufuli who ended his three-day state visit to that country, early yesterday.
The laying of the foundation stone at Hoima was graced by Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni. Dr Mahiga was accompanied by Minister for Energy, Dr Medard Kalemani, Minister for Industries, Trade and Investment, Mr Charles Mwijage and other members of technical team from the Ministry of Energy.
He said African countries need to invest in scientific research and technology to boost economies through discoveries and proper utilisation of natural resources. He said Uganda has been able to discover oil because it has invested a lot in the area.
“Uganda has reached to this stage because it has been able to invest in scientific research, other African countries need to learn from this good example,” he noted.
The Minister said oil discovery in Uganda did not come as an accident, but people worked hard under the captainship of President Museveni, whom he described as a visionary and courageous leader. “Discovery of oil in this country did not come as an accident, it was out of deliberate efforts by Ugandans,” said Dr Mahiga.
He added that the completion of the oil pipeline project from Hoima, Uganda to Tanga will benefit the whole members of the east African community. “This project is expected to benefit not only Tanzania and Uganda but also other countries within the East African Community, since we work together under common goals, it is obvious everyone is going to benefit from this project,” he said.
He added: “Ugandans started to search for oil since 1939 during colonialism, they did not give up until they succeeded,” Minister for Energy, Dr Kalemani said the Hoima-Tanga oil pipeline is among the longest oil pipelines in the world with a total of 1,445 kilometres and that its completion is set to boost Uganda, Tanzania and other East African countries’ economies.
He said so far some ‘wananchi’ have already started to benefit from the project by doing business along the areas where the project is set to be carried out. Uganda’s Energy Minister, Irene Muloni said the project has benefits for Uganda and Tanzania which include job creation, local content, new infrastructures, logistics, technology transfer and the enhancement of the Central Corridor between Uganda and Tanzania.
Meanwhile, President Magufuli yesterday directed the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications to raise funds for the construction of 6 kilometres Mutukula-Minziro road.
He said the construction of the road will ease transportation of people and commodities and thus boost both social and economic activities. According to a statement from the Director of Presidential Communications, Mr Gerson Msigwa, the Head of State gave the directives after listening to wananchi’s complaints at Mutukula border on his way back from Uganda.
President Magufuli directed the respective Minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa to work on the matter. He also directed Kagera regional administration to resolve various challenges that were raised by wananchi including the road-block at Kyaka, which is placed near Kagera River.
The Head of State reminded wananchi to work hard by engaging in both agriculture and business related activities. He emphasized the need for construction of international market along the border so as to attract more traders from various areas.