Parliament has deferred approval of US$ 150m loans for the road sector so as to first receive a Report from its Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE), which details overwhelming discrepancies and decay in the sector.
Government is set to source up to US$91.0 million from the African Development Bank (ADB) and another US$60.0 million from the African Development Fund to support the multinational Uganda/Rwanda Busega-Mpigi and Kagitumba- Kayonza-Rusamo Roads Project.
In addition, government will borrow up to US$11.5million from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and another US 11.5 million from the OPEC Fund for International Development to finance the upgrading of the Luwero-Butalangu Road Project.
In its report to Parliament, the Committee on National Economy said that “The road projects are intended to contribute to socio-economic development, poverty reduction and regional integration through an improved and sustainable transport system that links centres of economic activity.”
Hon. Syda Bbumba, the Committee Chairperson, said that the Busega-Mpigi and Kagitumba- Kayonza-Rusamo Roads Project will improve road transportation and trade facilitation along the Northern and Central Corridors.
“It is intended to stimulate and support local economic activities by reducing transport costs and travel time. It will also decrease traffic congestion on the heavily traveled Kampala – Mpigi road section,” said Hon. Bbumba, a former Minister of Finance.
The Committee observed that transport infrastructure has been considered as a pre-requisite for ensuring sustainable socio-economic development and consolidation of both national unity and the security of the country. The Committee added that road infrastructure development is a priority in the government’s comprehensive development strategy and its benefits are anticipated to be reflected in better incomes and higher economic growth.
Following the presentation, Hon. Abdu Katuntu (FDC, Bugweri) asked Parliament to withhold its approval of the loans until the House receives an interim report on the road subsector. He said there was conflict between the Uganda National Roads Authority and the Ministry of Works about various road projects, which needed to be addressed.
“There is a lot of rot in this sector, which receives a budget of over UShs one trillion. We need to scrutinize it first before we give our approval,” said Katuntu, the Chairperson of COSASE.
He said that it was not proper for contractors to be allowed to source for foreign loans to support roads project.
“I defer debate and approval of these loan requests as we wait for the COSASE Report. The House can even be recalled from recess to receive the Report,” said Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga.
Parliament is scheduled to break off for the Christmas and New Year recess next week.