President Yoweri Museveni has insisted that Uganda will not borrow any money to construct the Kampala-Jinja Expressway.
In a letter dated September 18, 2019, Museveni told Eng. Monica Azuba Ntege, the Works and Transport Minister that he rejects the idea of borrowing for put up the infrastructure since their some investors who are willing to construct the expressway using their money and recover it through road tolls.
“In my earlier letter, I have expressly ruled out external borrowing except for the railway, electricity, controlling the cost of money (capitalizing UDB), the oil roads, the tourism roads, some aspects of education, some aspects of health and irrigation,” he said.
“Accordingly, I reject the idea of borrowing for Kampala-Jinja Expressway. There is a Chinese company by the names of China Railway No.17, whose delegates I met, that are ready to build this road with their own money and recover it through road tolls. Why, then should we borrow for this road? Moreover, the roads are not the major cost reducers compared to the railway or electricity.”
Museveni further revealed that he was inviting the company to make presentations and proposals for the project.
Last week, Members of Parliament also rejected government’s plan to fund the construction of the expressway through a Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The 85-kilometre road was planned to be constructed using funding from a loan from the African Development Bank (ADB).
Raising on a matter of national importance during last Thursday’s sitting, Bunyole West County MP James Waluswaka tasked government to explain the changes and the delayed commencement of works on the road.
“Why are they targeting eastern Uganda where indicators show that we have the worst poverty levels in the country? Is it a deliberate effort to leave the easterners stunted?” said Waluswaka.
Buyaga County West legislator Barnabas Tinkasimire questioned the change and yet signing of the contract with ADB is in the final stages.
“Why are you abandoning ADB and resorting to another source of funding. How has government abandoned an already finished contract to start afresh,” said Tinkasimire.
West Budama County South’s Jacob Marksons Oboth said that PPP is not a guaranteed source of funding.
“If you want construction of an 85-kilometer road to fail, take it to PPP. PPP is still a struggling source of funding,” Oboth said.
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