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Parliament approves UGX 200B for DRC road

Part of the Entebbe express high way.

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Parliament has approved 200 billion Shillings to support Uganda’s quest to jointly construct a 223-kilometre road with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Uganda and DRC entered a bilateral agreement to implement strategic infrastructure projects which includes constructing the road from Kasindi to Beni measuring about 80 kilometres, Beni to Butembo measuring 54 kilometres and the Bunagana border to Ruchuru-Goma road which measures 89 kilometres.

Uganda will contribute 20 per cent of the total cost of the project estimated at USD 334.5 million, as a measure to boost trade between the two countries. But the move attracted criticism from legislators and members of the public who questioned why Uganda would invest billions of Shillings in another country, yet its own infrastructure is waning. 

Buikwe South MP David Mutebi argued that it was unrealistic for Uganda to work on roads abroad yet the roads in the country is in a terrible state.

In line with the same argument, Erute South MP Jonathan Odur requested that the matter be deferred until the government provides the copies of the agreement, saying there is a possibility that the agreements could be flawed.

But their effort to defer the approval of the money pending tabling of the agreements was in vain because when the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga posed the question asking if the funds should be approved, the majority voted in support. Kadaga said that the road was vital especially at a time when Ugandan products are blocked from accessing markets like Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda.

Budget Committee chairperson Amos Lugolobi who presented the report, which in total sought a supplementary budget if 3.8 trillion Shillings, recommended that the signed agreements should be laid in Parliament before implementation of the project commences.

Works Minister General Edward Katumba Wamala committed to providing the documents before project works commence. 

Uganda plans to engage in other roads projects in countries like Ethiopia and South Sudan.

 

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