Uganda Secures $325 Million Loan for Major Infrastructure Upgrade

KAMPALA, (UG)-Government has been cleared to finance the upgrading of major through a loan funding worth $325 million (Shs1.23 trillion).

This was during yesterday’s plenary sitting chaired by Speaker Anita Among.

The loan will be secured from the Islamic Development Bank (US$295 million) and the OPEC Fund for International Development (US$30 million), whereas government is expected to provide US$22 million for land acquisition. The funding aims at rehabilitating the Masindi Port Bridge to 100 years of design life, as well as roads including Katine-Ochero Road, Kiruhura-Bwizi-Rwamwanja-Kahunge road and Mpara-Bwizi road, each of which is designed for 20 years of design life.

The Deputy Chairperson of Parliament’s Committee on National Economy, Robert Migadde, observed that much as Uganda’s public debt remains within sustainable levels, the country is rated at moderate risk of debt distress. He added that ministries, departments and agencies should always undertake project designs prior to sourcing for money, in order to minimize project delays by effectively compensating project affected persons in time.

The House also authorized government to prefinance the reconstruction, rehabilitation and upgrading of major roads in Masaka and Ntungamo districts at a total cost of Shs691.6 billion.

The Speaker tasked the Committee to always follow-up on the status of implementation of projects under previous loans approved by Parliament.

Iron Sheet Diversion Case Rescheduled for 2024

KAMPALA, (UG)-The trial against State Minister for Finance, Amos Lugoloobi, has been postponed until February 2024 due to the absence of the presiding Judge, Margaret Tibulya.

The minister appeared before Deputy Registrar Beatrice Stella Atingu of the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court, who adjourned the matter on behalf of Justice Tibulya.

The hearing will now resume on February 12 and March 15, 2024. Minister Lugoloobi faces charges related to the alleged diversion of iron sheets intended for vulnerable communities in Karamoja.The prosecution, led by DPP Jane Frances Abodo, alleges that between July 2022 and February 2023, the minister, who is also the Ntenjeru North MP, dealt with 700 pre-painted iron sheets marked “Office of the Prime Minister” at the OPM stores in Namanve, Matugga in Wakiso district, and his own constituency.

The prosecution further alleges that Lugoloobi was aware that the iron sheets were acquired through loss of public property.

Linking Nations: Shs691 Billion Chinese Deal to Transform Masaka-Mutukula Road

PARLIAMENT, (UG)-The Government has asked Parliament to okay its Shs691 billion new deal with the Chinese firm, Chongqing International Construction Corporation (CICO), to work on five major roads in various parts of the country.

The roads to be reconstructed are Masaka-Mutukula road (89.5km) and Nyendo-Villa Maria (11km), while those to be upgraded are the access road to Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) barracks in Masaka and another to Masaka Industrial Park (both 3.5km long), as well as the 28.5km Kikagati-Kafunjo road.

Finance state minister (General Duties), Henry Musasizi, made the call yesterday while appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on the National Economy.

Accompanied by Works and Transport Minister, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, Musasizi told the committee chaired by Bukedea County MP, Ikojo John Bosco, that the Shs691.68 billion will be prefinanced through a contract with CICO.

The major road from Masaka to Mukutula was built in the 1960s to link and boost trade ties and co-operation between Uganda, Tanzania and the rest of the East African partner states. However, it has deteriorated over the years, consistently affecting traffic flows, according to Paul Mpalanyi, the Kyotera County MP.

Musasizi also noted that the construction of the Masaka-Mutukula road will link the port in Dar es Salaam and facilitate the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

Government Directs Inclusion of Locals in Underserved Parishes in Development Program

KAMPALA, (UG)-Government has directed that locals in the new parishes that were not captured under the Parish Development Model (PDM) program be allowed to benefit from their mother parishes until the anomaly is resolved.

According to the State Minister for finance (general duties) and Rubanda County East legislator, Henry Ariganyira Musasizi, Rubanda district has 70 parishes yet only 69 are benefiting from the PDM.

Musasizi stated that the local government and finance ministries have agreed that the people in the new parish of Bunyonyi Ward who missed out on PDM funds should benefit from their mother Kagarama parish until the anomaly is resolved, a directive that applies to all the affected parishes in the country.

The minister who was conducting a public hearing on the implementation of the PDM at Hamuhambo Town Council in the same district on Friday, also warned the project committee members against asking for land as security from the intending beneficiaries, and deleting the names of some PDM beneficiaries from the lists and replacing them with their relatives or friends.

Musasizi warned that the culprits shall be arrested as their actions defeat the main objective of the programme to alleviate the 39% subsistence population into the money economy.

Government Proposes Shs3.5 Trillion Supplementary Budget to Address Budget Shortfalls

PARLIAMENT,(UG)-The government has tabled a supplementary schedule requesting parliamentary approval for a Shs3.5 trillion borrowing plan.

This financial maneuver aims to address previously unfunded priorities and shortfalls in the 2023/2024 budget, according to the State Minister for Finance (General Duties), Henry Ariganyira Musasizi.

Musasizi while tabling the supplementary budget during plenary yesterday, emphasized the urgency of approving the same, noting that the funds are crucial for various sectors, including the renewal of National Identification Cards under the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) and the upcoming population census in 2024. He revealed that Shs1.5 trillion has already been expended under the 3% financial window.

Despite initial assurances from the Ministry of Finance about reducing such supplementary requests, Musasizi justified the move, explaining that critical items were initially omitted from the budget, but added that the government is committed to maintaining efficiency and not exceeding the 3% limit.

The supplementary budget proposal occurs against the backdrop of the ongoing fiscal year’s budget, totaling Shs52.7 trillion.