President Yoweri Museveni has commended the gGovernment of Japan for its support towards the development of Uganda.
Speaking after commissioning the Source of the Nile Bridge in Jinja District, the President said the bridge is a manifestation of the National Resistance Movement Government's success in the partnership with the government of Japan.
"The Government of Japan has been a close partner for the last 56 years and during that time, Uganda has received over US$1.22 billion," he said.
President Museveni observed that road transport carries about 90% of Uganda's goods and passenger traffic and yet the road safety situation in the country has deteriorated rapidly over the past years, mainly due to the growing vehicle population and lack of appropriate road safety interventions from the regulatory authorities.
"With the new improved bridge, with dual carriage way, it would significantly improve road safety in the country. We shall encourage cyclists and boda-boda to use the old bridge to avoid congestion and confusion on this new facility," he said.
The new Source of the Nile bridge was constructed by Joint Venture Zenitaka Corporation and Hyundai Engineering and Construction Limited across the Victoria Nile, between the Source of the Nile to the south and Nalubaale Power Station to the north.
The construction of the bridge was funded by the Government of Uganda which spent Shs.41.1 billion and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) contributed US$112 million. The bridge was designed for a structural life span of 120 years.
President Museveni also commended the contractor, consultants and project managers for using the local staff on the construction of the bridge.
"I have been informed that out of the 760 staff at the peak of construction, 90.5% of contractors' staff were Ugandan Engineers, technicians, craftsmen and labourers. Out of 33 staff of the Supervising Consultant, 67% were Ugandan Engineers and Works Inspectors, 80% of reinforcement steel for high performance concrete was sourced locally in Uganda," he said.
The President thanked the Contractors, Consultants and the Project Management Team for working together to complete the Project within the cost and budget and almost within the planned time frame.
The Minister Works and Transport, Ms. Monica Azuba said the objective of the bridge is to contribute to Uganda's economic growth through economic development and integration of Uganda within the surrounding Central African countries and providing guarantees to the people and trade movement on the Northern Corridor Route (NCR) as well as ensuring safety of the Northern Corridor Route transportation system by relieving traffic loading from the existing deteriorating Nalubaale Dam/Bridge structure which was opened to traffic in 1954.
She added that the new bridge is also expected to enhance tourism with its iconic signature location.
The Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Masahisa Sato, said that in order to achieve economic development, infrastructure development is indispensable. He commended the Government of Uganda for ensuring peace in South Sudan and the Horn of Africa.
The Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Kazuaki Kameda, said that his government was committed to supporting Uganda's development agenda.
Later, the President toured the the expanded Southern Range Nyanza Limited at Njeru Factory in Bukwe District and commissioned the brand new weaving facility that cost US$6.5 million. The Medical sundries manufacturing facility cost USD$3.6 million while a new fabric wet processing and dyeing facility is valued at US$ 3.5 million and is a second of its kind in Africa.
Mr. Kishor Jobanputra, the Chairman of Picfare Group of Companies, thanked the government for its support that has enabled the company to expand its operations in Uganda.
"One such outstanding support came through from the Buy Ugandan Build Uganda (BUBU)", he said.
The President urged the employees to work hard and be trustworthy.
The President was accompanied by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon.Amelia Kyambadde and that of State for Privatization and Investment, Ho. Everlyne Anite. ENDS