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Sh459 billion approved for new Nile bridge, electricity power line

The new Nile Bridge. PHOUT VIA @UNRA_UG

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament has approved government borrowing of up to Sh459 billion from Japanese and European banks meant for the completion of construction of the new bridge across the River Nile. The other loan is meant to finance the Masaka-Mbarara power transmission line.

The loans were contained in two separate motions presented on the floor of Parliament by Finance Minister David Bahati (Ndorwa West County) this week.

The additional $44.306 million (sh160 billion) loan to complete construction works on the new bridge across the River Nile at Jinja raised queries from MPs on its marginality, given that it had been computed in Japanese Yen, to be borrowed by Government from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

“The relevant project officers should explain where the issue of variations in budgeting arises from,” said Julius Ocen (Kapelebyong County)

“Some Government projects haven’t been completed in time, and they have failed to meet the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy to support local content,” noted Ngora County MP David Abala.

MPs in a plenary sitting on Tuesday, 13 March, 2018 also expressed concern over the varying figures of the proposed loan that had been put at JPY 4.918 billion, which the vice chairperson of the committee on National Economy, Lawrence Bategeka (Hoima Municipality) clarified as being JPY3.891 billion (Shs 133 billion).

Bahati noted that the differences in money figures was due to exchange loss of the money that had been received through to the time which it was used to implement the project adding that, “…the bids were higher than the amount of money borrowed.”

The new suspension cable Nile Bridge that was originally to cost $130 million, measures 525M Long and, 22.9m wide. The existing bridge along the Nile (Owen Falls Dam) will be decommissioned on completion of works on the New Nile Bridge that will be fitted with diverse design features and technology

In 2011, Parliament approved concessional financing of JPY 9.198 billion from JICA for the construction of the new River Nile Bridge with the construction commencing two years later in 2013. The completion date has been moved ahead by two months from April 2018.

Government is also scheduled to borrow €37.1 million from the French Agency for Development and another €35 million from the German Development Bank to finance the Masaka-Mbarara power transmission.

The Committee on National Economy observed that there was slow implementation of electricity projects as well as continued escalating compensations that needed to be catered for.




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