Kasaija warns UNRA against delayed works as government signs a $151million loan for the construction of Busega-Mpigi highway
Uganda has signed a sh545billion ($151 million) loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to help finance the construction of a four-lane 23.7 kilometer Busega-Mpigi expressway.
The AfDB earlier this year approved $245 million in loans and grants to Uganda and Rwanda to finance this transport project that will boost regional trade and decongest traffic from Kampala (Busega) to Mpigi.
In Uganda, the Bank’s $151 million will finance the construction of the four-lane Busega expressway, which will facilitate the journey between Kampala and Mpigi on the Northern Corridor, a major trade route in the region.
In Rwanda, the $94-million Bank loan will finance the rehabilitation of a 208-km road (Kagitumba-Kayonza-Rusumo) in eastern Rwanda. Uganda and Rwanda are landlocked countries and transport infrastructure is a key factor to stimulate socio-economic activities and improve competitiveness.
The AfDB says the roads are vital links, which support the regional integration objectives of the East Africa Community (EAC) and the Great Lakes Region, contributing to poverty reduction and regional integration across Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. The project. AfDB sayd, also includes the construction of two cross-border markets at Kagitumba and Rusumo, training of women traders and entrepreneurs.
According to officials, the existing two-lane Busega-Mpigi road is highly congested especially at Busega, handling over 26,000 vehicles per day on a two-lane road. Average vehicle travel time from Busega to Mpigi will be reduced from one hour to 20 minutes on the completion of the project. The road construction will be completed in 2½ years.
The Busega-Mpigi Expressway will have four major interchanges at Nabbingo, Nsangi, Maya and Lungala to facilitate inter-connections.
Uganda’s team at the signing was led by Minister of finance, planning and economic development Matia Kasaija who warned Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) about persistent delays to complete projects in the allocated time.
Kasaija said that poor project implementation had led to persistent low absorptive capacity for loaned funds, foreign grants and domestic resources hence affecting development.
Others at the signing were Eng. Monica Azuba (Works Minister) while the regional African Development Bank was represented by Gabriel Negatu. UNRA officials led by the Executive Director Allen Kagina were also present to witness the signing ceremony.
Kasaija said the intervention of this road project is in line with the Uganda Vision 2040, the Second National Development Plan (NDPII 2015/16-2019/20), the Transport Strategy of the EAC; and the Eastern Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper (EA-RISP), which supports development of infrastructure that has an impact on regional transport and integration.
Negatu on behalf of the African Development Bank explained that the road will provide employment to young people and women who will take 30% of the jobs it creates.
On the Ugandan side, the construction of 23.7 kilometers will require sh693 billion ($192 million), an estimated of sh30 billion per kilometer.
In Rwanda, the 208 kilometers of paved road at the other end of the same project will require $172 million or sh621billion, an estimate of sh3billion per kilometer.
The entire project will be financed by the AfDB, African Dev’t Fund and the governments of Uganda and Tanzania.