18 February 2013

Uganda in 2000km Road Plan

Kampala — The Ministry of Works and Transport has embarked on an ambitious road network construction plan that will see over 20 roads and up to 2,000km of roads completed.

Under the arrangement known as contractor-facilitated financing scheme, the government will engage contractors who have money and are willing to lend it to carry out the construction of the roads meant to stimulate tourism, agriculture and the oil and gas sector across the country.

Eng. Abraham Byandala told East African Business Week in an interview last week that government is seeking to raise about $2.5b through this arrangement so as to fast track the construction of the stalled road works.

"We have identified projects that we want to do and we are looking for contractors with money. We are saying, if you have money, are you willing to lend it to us, at what interest rates, what is the grace period, what is the repayment period," he said.

He added that the importance of roads identified is that they are in; areas with potential for tourism, the Albertine area where there are developments in the oil and gas sector as well as those in highly productive agricultural areas.

Byandala said, "We think that these areas will have a multiplier effect to get more revenues for Uganda."

The Minister also said that the construction of the first tarmac road in the Karamoja region (North Eastern Uganda) was on course with the contractor (China Road and Bridge Corporation) currently in the mobilization phase. He said that the contractor had already received a down payment and was transporting equipment from Mombasa.

The Karamoja area that houses the famous Kidepo National Park has in recent months become impassable with the onset of the rains.

Traditionally, Uganda has relied on direct budgetary allocations to fund infrastructure developments but low tax revenues have meant the country's road network remains largely poor, stifling growth in the country.

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