The government is set to construct a railway line through Bunyoro sub-region and an airport to ease transport in the oil-rich area.
The East African Affairs State Minister, Mr Shem Bageine, said the railway line will be constructed from Pakwach to Kasese District via the Kaiso-Tonya area in Hoima District.
Oil explorers have confirmed commercially viable oil deposits in the Albertine graben estimated to be 3.5 billion barrels. “The 400-kilometre railway line and an airport in Hoima will be used to facilitate trade and tourism in East African states,” Mr Bageine told Bunyoro Kingdom officials during a sensitisation outreach by government officials about the East African community integration.
The meeting held on Friday at the Bunyoro king’s Karuziika palace was attended by political, civil society, religious and cultural leaders.
Mr Bageine said as part of the infrastructural developments in the oil industry, the government would upgrade Kigumba Petroleum Institute to a university status, upgrade the Masindi-Kampala road. He added that the government plans to finalise the construction of a refinery in Kabaale parish, Buseruka Sub-county in Hoima District by 2017.
The State Minister for Bunyoro Affairs, Mr Ernest Kiiza, rallied Bunyoro Kingdom, civil society activists and the private sector to support the fast-tracking of the East African community and utilise the customs union which allows free circulation of goods and services among states. He said under the region’s common market Protocol, people in Bunyoro, just like other East Africans, have freedom to move, work and a right of residence within East African states.
“Therefore here in Bunyoro, we can take the benefit of the common market for our skilled and unskilled labour, business community, and other people with social and cultural intentions” Mr Kiiza added.
The Omukama of Bunyoro, Dr Solomon Gafabusa Iguru, welcomed the East African integration move. “Such initiatives aimed at uniting Africans are welcome. It will enhance trade and tourism in my Kingdom,” Dr Iguru said.