President Yoweri Museveni and his Tanzanian John Magufuli are today expected open a one-stop border post at Mutukula.
Magufuli who arrived before noon and welcomed by Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kuteesa is here on a three-day state visit from today (November 9).
His visit comes at a time when the two countries have stepped up bilateral cooperation in a number of sectors.
The two presidents will also lay a cross-border mark-stone at Luzinga village for the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline and address a rally in Kyotela, ministry of foreign affairs and State House said.
They are also expected to sign key bilateral agreements in transport sector and power projects.
Museveni and Magufuli will hold a press conference in Masaka on Friday.
The 1st Tanzania-Uganda Permanent Joint Commission was held on April 3-5, 2017 in Arusha during which both countries agreed on a number of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and other cooperation frameworks. On July 29, 2017 a Ministerial Session was held in Bukoba on cross-border issues.
Also present in Mutukula on Thursday is Allen Kagina, Executive Director, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) who this week received a stern letter authored by President Museveni over the circumstances under which the body about the terminated contract of construction firm, Dott Services of 102-Km Nakalama-Tirinyi-Mbale.
Museveni had earlier lifted his executive order on Dott Services for delaying construction projects with court injunctions before Court on Tuesday dismissed an application for temporary injunction filed by the firms’ owners Venugopal Rao, Maheswara Reddy, Prasad Reddy and Komi Reddy – all of Indian origin stopping UNRA from procuring a new contractor.
But UNRA communications official Allan Ssempebwa said Ms. Kagina is in Mutukula not to seek the President’s audience on Dott Services issues but because UNRA is a ‘critical stakeholder in the oil pipeline business’ by virtue of having the responsibility of delivering the ten “critical oil roads” in the oil belt, Albertine Graben, in South Western Uganda needed urgently to ease the ongoing process of expediting commercial oil production to start by 2020.
Ssepembwa said: “The Executive Director (Kagina) is attending the historical ceremony together with her technical team.”
“UNRA is currently preparing the critical oil roads which are service roads for the oil pipeline to deliver materials for construction of the same,” he explained the body’s role. “Activities to enable construction like land acquisitions are ongoing, the feasibility studies and preliminary designs, environmental studies are now complete while procurement of contractors is also in advanced stages.”
According to UNRA the $564m (approx. Shs2t) roads are, Hoima-Butiaba-Wanseko road (111km), Masindi-Biiso (54km), Masindi-Bugungu via Murchison Falls National Park (80km), Kaseeta – Lwera via Bugoma Forest (16km), Hohwa-Nyairongo-Kyarushesha road (25km), and Wanseko-Bugungu (23km).
Others include Lusalira- Nkonge-Sembabule (97km), Kyotera – Rakai (20km), Buhimba-Nalweyo-Kakindu-Kakumiro-Mubende (100km) and Kabale – Kiziramfumbi road (30km).
The International oil companies, Tullow, France’s Total and China’s Cnooc, have been mounting enormous pressure on government accelerate the processes and have the infrastructures required in place by 2020 to facilitate oil production to start.
“The oil roads have to be ready by 2019,” Ms Kagina said in March during an interview.