Tanzania has blasted the “falsehoods” peddled by the European Union (EU) Parliament on the East African Oil Pipeline (EACOP), saying the project is being implemented with strict observance of International Safety, Environmental and Social aspects, including Human Rights.
“Tanzania being one of the Shareholders to the EACOP Project is seriously concerned by grave factual misrepresentations in the resolution issued by EU Parliament,” Tanzania government said in a statement sent to ChimpReports on Saturday.
“To demonstrate this adherence in the Project, a dedicated Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) was undertaken as part of the project implementation process. The HRIA assessed and put in place measures for addressing the potential adverse effects of the Project on the human rights enjoyment,” the statement reads in part.
The statement comes against the backdrop of a resolution of the European Union Parliament calling on Uganda and Tanzania to stop the development of the multi-billion dollar pipeline on account of the human rights violations in both neighbouring countries.
The EU parliament also denounced what they described as major environmental and climate risks posed by the Tilenga and EACOP projects, developed by French oil firm, Total Energies, in Uganda and Tanzania.
The EU legislators also asked to “put an end to the extractive activities in protected and sensitive ecosystems, including the shores of Lake Albert”, referring to the 132 wells that Total plans to dig into the Murchison Falls National Park, a protected area, and to the numerous protected ecosystems which the 50°C heated EACOP pipeline will cross.
Quoting the International Energy Agency’s 2021 report, EU lawmakers also recalled that to have a chance to limit global warming to 1,5°C, no new oil extraction project should be developed.
Uganda’s opposition leaders, especially Robert Kyagulanyi, have defended the EU Parliament’s resolution. In Kampala, youth took to the streets to demonstrate against the resolution.
Tanzania said the Project Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) process was adequately undertaken and approved by the relevant Environmental Management bodies including the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC).
“Notably, ESIA identified comprehensive and adequate measures to safeguard environmental sustainability during and post project construction,” said the Tanzania government.
“It is paramount to underscore the fact that the Pipeline route is designed to minimize Environmental and Social impacts as well as physical displacement and render low economic impacts to nearby communities.”
Tanzania said there are 9,513 Project Affected Persons (PAPs – broadly corresponding to households and including commercial and government institutions).
Out of these, only 331 PAPs displaced (which represents 3.5% of total Project affected Persons) against 100,000 claimed by the EU resolution as being displaced.
Tanzania said displaced PAPs are offered a choice between replacement housing or cash compensation.
“Over 85% of the physically displaced PAPs have opted for replacement housing. Construction of these houses has started and out of 309 houses: 37 have been completed and handed over, 55 are in the completion stage and 217 are in the initial construction stage,” the statement added.
Officials further said the project land acquisition process (Compensation, Resettlement, Livelihood Restoration and Transition Support.) was carried out in compliance with
both the Laws of Tanzania and the Performance Standards of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as verified by Lenders Environmental and Social Consultant (LESC).
“In compliance, all basic principles of compensation including treating each PAP with respect and compensating each PAP at full replacement value is the norm of the Resettlement exercise. The Government of Tanzania and the Project company agreed in principle that, no land will be accessed by the project until compensation and resettlement has been fully undertaken and notice to vacate has been issued. This has been the norm of this Project and intensely monitored by the Government,” the statement added.
The construction of the EACOP Pipeline in combination with the Tilenga and Kingfisher projects is expected to benefit the economies of Uganda and Tanzania in terms of tax revenues for the two Host Governments, job creation, national content, new infrastructure, logistics, skills and technology transfer and enhancement of the trade corridor between Uganda and Tanzania.
The capital investment of some $4bn associated with the construction of the Pipeline represents one of the largest ever inward investments into Uganda and Tanzania.
The project also is expected to contribute towards the enhancement of the central corridor between Uganda and Tanzania triggering the development of better road infrastructure, improved logistics and modern communications with the fibre-optic cable.