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.

AfDB Approves $252.83 Million for Key Road Projects in West Nile and Kigezi

KAMPALA,(UG) –The African Development Bank (AfDB) announced yesterday that it has approved a total of $252.83 million (Shs961 billion) for developing a better road network in West Nile and Kigezi sub-regions.

The loan will go towards the construction of Laropi-Moyo-Afoji Road in West Nile and Katuna-Muko-Kamuganguzi Road in Kigezi.Augustine Ngafuan, the AfDB country manager in Uganda, said the road project is intended to improve rural transport connectivity and facilitate regional integration in the districts of Kabale, Rubanda and Moyo, adding that the same will facilitate trade while opening up an alternative transport corridor linking Uganda with South Sudan.

In addition to the two main roads, the project will also facilitate street lighting to improve the business environment for traders, and regional bus terminus in Moyo, and as well provide for the construction of market stalls, complete with cold storage facilities, in Kashasha (Katuna of Kabale district), Moyo and Laropi.

These stalls are intended to support women traders who currently operate on the roadsides, in order to improve earnings from perishable products such as fish and vegetables.

As of November 2023, the African Development Bank Group’s active portfolio in Uganda comprised 23 projects with a total commitment of $1.957 billion (Shs7.4 trillion).

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.