Parliament Defers Passing Of Loans For Roads
Parliament has deferred the passing of two loans for the construction of the Busega-Mpigi road.
The National Economy committee on December 7, 2016, tabled its report before Parliament giving the green light for government to borrow Ugx 329 billion ($91 million) and Ugx 217 billion ($60 million) for Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to construct the road.
The total cost of the contract is Ugx 629 billion, of which China will foot a bigger part of the road constructions, whose specifications include a new four–lane express highway; 12 kilometers of interchange loops 23.7 kilometers of the two links and 8 kilometers of auxiliary lanes.
Committee chairperson, Syda Bbumba, while presenting the report before the House, asked government to approve the loan, stating that the existing road is too narrow and needs to be expanded to accommodate its growing daily traffic population of 26,000.
However, legislators including Abdu Katuntu, the chairman of the Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) committee shot up in protest of the loan.
Katuntu revealed to the House that the road contract is under dispute. He cited UNRA Executive Director, Allen Kagina and former Works and Transport Minister, Engineer John Byabagambi disagreeing over the contract.
Katuntu tabled before the House a letter written by Engineer Byabagambi in April 2016, asking UNRA’s Kagina to make additions to the contract of Busega-Mpigi road, and incorporate China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) with a contract to construct the Kibuye-Busega road.
Eng. Byabagambi is said to have told UNRA that the funds to construct the Kibuye-Busega road would be secured through China’s Export and Import (EXIM) Bank; however UNRA rejected this, stating that there were procurement procedures to be followed.
Katuntu implored Parliament not to pass the loans, saying he would table a report before the House in that regard and asked Parliament not to turn into a rubber stamp of loans.
He was supported by several other MPs, including Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, Kiira Municipality MP, who said issues of compensation on the road are still under contestation.
The Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga directed that the loan approval is put on hold until government tables information pertaining to the matter