4 October 2009

Uganda: Goverment to Borrow Sh100 Billion for Sanitation

Kampala — PARLIAMENT has allowed the Government to borrow sh100b for the Kampala Sanitation Programme to improve public health in the city.

The funds from the African Development Bank will be used to extend the sewerage network to serve at least 15% of the city population from the current 7.5%, according to the committee on national economy.

The committee explained that funds will be used to rehabilitate and extend the existing 135km of sewerage pipelines in Kampala. Robert Sebunya, who presented the committee report, said: "A total of 30km of new sewer pipes will be laid, 10km unblocked, while 6.7km will be realigned."

He also added that some of the funds will be used to construct and operate the Nakivubo sewerage treatment works and construct a new plant. "In addition to laying 15km of sewer network within Kinawataka, a waste treatment plant will be built to serve the eastern part of Kampala," said Sebunya.

The loan, to be managed by the National Water and Sewerage Corporation and KCC, will see the formation of water management units in each division of Kampala.

The committee noted that the improvements would curtail water and sanitation related diseases and contribute to environmental protection of Lake Victoria. MPs, however, expressed concern that due to the poor planning of the city, the sewer line was a waste of resources as it could not be accessed by many citizens.

Opposition leaders Ogenga Latigo and Elijah Okupa (FDC) said unless the city is newly planned, no project would be effective. Ogenga wondered whether the ministry had the land on which to build the new 30km of sewer.

Ogenga advised that more funds be allocated to emptying septic tanks to reduce the spillage into under- ground water. Okello Okello (UPC) demanded that the Ministry of Water and Environment provides a detailed plan of how the money would be spent otherwise, the funds risked being spent in feasibility studies like the rest of the money borrowed by the Government.

Water and environment minister Maria Mutagamba assured the MPs that the money would be put to good use.

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