Algeria: Museveni Tours Africa’s Largest Refinery

Museveni touring the oil refinery on Monday in Algeria

The chairperson commission of inquiry into UNRA, malady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has given Chinese Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) up to November 16 to have provided a comprehensive solution to the defects on Pakwach – Nebbi road.

In 2001, information pills the Chinese firm signed a contract with Road Agency Formation Unit (RAFU) that later transformed into Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to upgrade the 57.3km gravel road to tarmac.

The contract amounted to Ugshs 22.9bn for 4 years. However, page soon after the contractor handed over the road to RAFU, it was discovered to have developed longitudinal and traverse cracks, potholes as well as rating in some sections of the road.

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Fan Wei, the current Project Manager of CRBC in Uganda who appeared before the commission on Monday was tasked to find out the state of the road.

“Look into details to the complaints and come back to us with robust answers on what you are doing to fix these defects and measures to prevent the same from happening to other projects” said Justice Bamugemereire.

The Pakwach – Nebbi road was designed to have a life of 20 years but 9 years after its completion, it’s in a worse state than before it was tarmacked.

Fan Wei in defense told the commission that overloading and delayed maintenance on the part of RAFU is what cause the road to deteriorate.

“Traffic has since increased on the road due to the economic activity in South Sudan and it has experienced more weight than it was designed to hold” stated Wei.

The team of commissioners visited the road recently and established that the pavement structure was weaker than the one required in the contract.

In addition to that, low quality materials were also used contrary to those specified. A sum of Ugshs 6.7 billion was paid to China Road and Bridge Corporation for layers as per the design but which were never constructed.

British consultancy firm, Parkman which was contracted to do supervision is also faulted for delegating its responsibility of ensuring that the contractor fulfills their obligation.

The former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Mr. Charles Muganzi attributed the failed road to poor quality of gravel, delay in construction by the contractor and disagreement between the consultant and contractor on quality of materials.

“RAFU had the most professional and experienced Engineers at the time. We didn’t find it necessary to micro manage them since we trusted that they would offer the best service” he told the commission.

He also blamed the consultant (Parkman) for certifying a road that was already facing deficiencies adding that; “that was professional negligence and they should be held accountable”.

This week, the commission will embark on investigating the irregularities on Pakwach – Nebbi, Fort Portal – Hima roads as well as issues of land compensation during the Fort Portal – Bundibugyo road project.
President Museveni has welcomed a decision by the Algerian government to increase the number of scholarships in petroleum studies to Ugandan students and to provide expertise to the government of Uganda in the petroleum sector.

Speaking shortly after touring the Sidi Rzine, web Sonatrach Refineries in the Capital Algiers, more about the largest Algerian and African company and the 11th largest oil consortium in the world, the President commended the Algerian government for agreeing to send a team of experts to Uganda to work with the Ministry of Energy on various aspects of oil refinery and oil pipeline construction.

Sonatrach Refineries is an Algerian government-owned company formed to exploit the hydrocarbon resources of the country. Its diversified activities cover all aspects of production: exploration, extraction, transport, and refining.

President Museveni, who is on a four-day state visit to Algeria, was accompanied on the tour by the Algerian Minister of African affairs and Cooperation Mr. Lamamra Ramtane, and that of Energy Mr. Khebri.

He was briefed about the operations of the 51 year old refinery that currently processes 64, 000 barrels of oil per day.

The oil refinery which was the first to be constructed by the North African country is one of the five refineries in the country today that produce over 605,000 barrels per day all together.

Uganda expects to start commercial oil production in the next few years.

The bulk of the income accruing to Uganda from oil will, in the first place, accrue to Government in the form of oil revenues of various types; royalties, income tax, etc. Government revenues will receive a substantial boost, which will allow for an expansion in the budget resource envelope. Government will have more resources to spend on public services and public investment.

Oil production will also allow Uganda to increase its earnings of foreign exchange or to save foreign exchange by substituting for fuel which is currently imported. Together with the increase in national income, this will have important consequences for the structure of the Ugandan economy.

Experts say the increase in national income will boost demand for goods and services; investment and consumption goods.

The refinery is being expanded to increase its production capacity increase from 64,000 barrels to 78,000 barrel daily

The refinery is being expanded to increase its production capacity increase from 64,000 barrels to 78,000 barrel daily


Mr. Boutouba Batouche, the Executive Director of Sidi Rzine Algiers oil refinery, said that the oil refinery produces a number of products that include LPG, Gasoline Reg. Gasoline Prem, Kerosene, Diesel, Naphta and fuel oil among others, for both domestic consumption and for export.

Mr. Boutouba Batouche also briefed the President on the ongoing revamping and expansion of the refinery that will see its production capacity increase from 64,000 barrels to 78,000 barrel daily upon completion.

President Museveni commended the achievements of the government and people of Algeria in the oil and gas sector which have contributed to the development of the country and said that Uganda looks forward to cooperate, pattern and borrow the good practices of the Algerian oil industry as the country starts her own oil and gas production in the near future.


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