Tanzania: No Cause for Alarm On Eacop Execution – Govt

Dodoma — THE government has assured Development Partners that implementation of the ongoing East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) is considerably concerned with human rights and major environmental and climate risks, insisting that there was no cause for alarm at all.

The government assurance comes after the EU Parliament on Thursday last week adopted a resolution seeking to force Uganda, Tanzania and the Total Energies SE to delay the project, terming it as a setback to socioeconomic progress of both Tanzania and Uganda.

They also called on the governments of Uganda and Tanzania to initiate concrete measures to ensure that authorities, security forces and policies respect and comply with human rights standards.

However, when winding up the ninth meeting of the eighth parliamentary session here, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the two governments (Uganda and Tanzania) had made a thorough Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the mega project to ensure that it does not cause any negative impacts to beneficiaries.

Once completed, the Uganda-Tanzania pipeline will be the world’s longest heated oil pipeline, stretching 1,443 kilometers (896 miles).

“Some Development Partners have been expressing their suspicions in the implementation of this project, especially on issues of environment and human rights, but our assessment is clear, that all such issues had been well considered prior to the implementation of the project,” he noted.

According to the Premier, in Tanzania alone, the project was directly involving about 9,513 people and several institutions that were directly affected by the project when it came to relocation.

He was quick to point out that only 331 households (equivalent to 3.5per cent) would be physically relocated. He said that the entire exercise directly engaged all Project Affected Persons (PAPs), including commercial and government institutions to choose either to be paid compensation in cash or to be built modern houses.

“We offered a choice between replacement housing (generally of higher standard than the existing dwelling) and cash compensation, and around 85 per cent of the PAPs had elected for replacement housing, and construction of these replacement houses is ongoing,” he clarified.

Mr Majaliwa added that the construction of modern houses was still ongoing, where 37 out of 309 had been fully completed and handed over to respective households. He insisted further that 55 houses were at different finishing stages while 217 houses were at the preliminary stages of construction.

“I want to state categorically that the governments of Tanzania and Uganda respectively want to ensure all stakeholders, including the EU Parliament that this project is implemented by considering all local and international legislations, transparency, environment and climate risks, ecological and social issues, gender and human rights at large,” Mr Majaliwa said.

Early this week, Tanzania’s Ambassador to Belgium, Jestas Nyamanga said the country is preparing an official statement to be presented to the European Union Parliament for clarification on the implementation of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

He said the embassy will submit to the EU an official statement that clarifies execution of the whole project that covers 1,443kms from Hoima (Uganda) to Chongoleani, Tanga in Tanzania.

“The EU Parliament was misinformed on some of the facts that made them reach such a resolution, we shall clarify all the issues to them,” he said.

Also in Uganda, lawmakers were opposed to the resolution, among them Ugandan Minister of State for International Relations, Henry Okello-Oryem, who was quoted by the media in Uganda saying EU lawmakers should transact diplomatic business based on mutual respect.

“The resolution is unfortunate because most of those people who voted ‘Yes’ don’t have any clue about the terrain of Africa. So, they don’t want Africa to develop its natural resources and yet it’s the only way to solve some of our problems,” he said.

In its resolution, the EU legislature pointed out that nearly 118,000 people are affected by their homes being destroyed to facilitate the construction of access roads or the processing plant.

The resolution explains further that other people have had all or part of their land requisitioned and have lost the free use of their properties.

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