Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The European Union has approved a grant of 21.5 million Euros (94 billion Shillings) for the rehabilitation of the Tororo-Gulu railway. The agreement for the financing was signed this evening between Finance Minister Matia Kasaija and Attillio Pacifici, the Head of EU delegation in Uganda.
Kasaija said the project will cost 34.6 million euros (148 billion Shillings) and that the Government of Uganda will contribute 13.1 million euros (57 billion Shillings) in counterpart funding for the project which also seeks to expand the line to Juba, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The objective of the project is to reduce the transport costs within Northern Uganda and beyond, including South Sudan and the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Once rehabilitated the Tororo-Gulu railway will allow a significant part of cargo currently moving on wheels along the Northern Corridor to transfer to rail,” The European union stated.
Kasaija said the government is taking deliberate moves to revitalize railway and water transport to relieve Uganda’s road infrastructure of being used to transport everything.
He added that the decision to fund the rehabilitation works for the Meter Gauge Railway was informed by a 2016 feasibility study commissioned by the government and European Union adding that the project will be faster than the Standard Gauge Railway, which government equally envisages putting in place. It’s envisaged that the construction will start by end of this year and be completed by 2022.
Kasaija said that even if Uganda started work on the Standard Gauge Railway today, the first trains between Mombasa to Kampala will not run until after a decade because Kenya has delayed committing construction of its Standard Gauge Railway to Malaba border.
Ambassador Pacifici said that the Tororo-Gulu railway line used to be a pivotal economic artery along the East African northern corridor linking the port of Mombasa and Eastern Uganda to northern Uganda before it closed in 1993 due to Lord Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency.
He added that the project is part of the EU’s efforts to help Uganda develop the north. He said it complements well the EU humanitarian assistance to refugees and the support to host communities provided under the EU Emergency Trust Fund in the north.
The project will also complement the ongoing construction of the Gulu Logistic Hub currently being undertaken by the government in partnership with Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Trademark East Africa.
Pacifici said the project Tororo Gulu railway is envisaged to cause a spill-over impact on private sector growth and on investment promotion in the north as well as promoted add value to key value chains of Northern Uganda such agriculture products, cement, oil and gas and mining.
Together with Minister Kasaija I signed today the Financing agreement for the rehabilitation of Tororo-Gulu railway. A EU grant of UGX 91 billion will complement UGX 57 billion provided by GoU. A lot of cargo now on the Northern Corridor road will in future transfer to rail. pic.twitter.com/0DKwj8YdW7
— Attilio Pacifici (@APacificiEU) October 17, 2018