Sunday, July 26, 2015 

Uganda to secure $145m WB loan for oil roads

DEVELOPMENT: Ongoing rehabilitation works on the 92km Hoima-Kaiso-Tonya road in the Albertine region. The road will facilitate the production of oil and gas.

KAMPALA, UGANDA – Uganda’s Parliament has recommended a loan request of USD 145 Million from International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group to be approved to finance the Albertine Region districts road connectivity development project. 

Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) referred the request to the committee for scrutiny and consideration. 

The loan application follows the 29-member of Parliamentary committee on National Economy chaired by Xavier Kyooma  Akampurira  observed that the Albertine region was in urgent need of improved road network connectivity linking local producers, tourists, commercial and industrial enterprises to goods and services. 

‘Currently, there is lack of direct and efficient connection within the Albertine Region and between the region and the rest of the country, as well as with the neighboring countries, ‘the report of the committee stated. 

The objective of the project is to improve regional and local access to infrastructure, markets and skills development in the Albertine region. The project will focus  on improving  the connectivity of the region, providing basic infrastructure and planning  at local government level  and investing in institutions and people to prepare them for potential employment opportunities that are anticipated to result  from growth  and development of the region.  

The Kyenjojo to Kigumba road is a critical part of the national road network. The improved connectivity of the Albertine region will further facilitate the development of the oil, agriculture, tourism and fish industries. The road network has significant commercial agriculture dominated by tea in Kyenjojo, Tobacco and Rice in Hoima and Sugar in Masindi which will benefit from the road infrastructure.  The road also forms part of the link between the queen Elizabeth and Murchison falls National Park and will significantly reduce driving time between the two parks. 

The loan will finance the upgrading of 100km stretch of road from Kyenjojo to Kabwoya which forms part of the 238 kilometre Kyenjojo – Hoima – Masindi- Kigumba road connecting the five districts of Kyenjojo, Kibaale, Hoima, Masindi and Kiryandongo in western Uganda commonly known as Albertine region.

The total project financing will be US$153.89 million; comprising an IDA credit of US$145 million and a US$8.89 million contribution from the government of Uganda, to be implemented over a period of five years.

The project will be implemented over a period of five years. Ministry of finance, planning and economic development (MOFPED) will be responsible for overall oversight of the project. 

UNRA will be in charge of construction, MoLHUD will manage the procurement and design while local government will prioritize the sub projects like markets, fish landing sites and basic needs for communities and MOES will mainstream the existing institutional establishment. 

According to a report from the committee, the project will directly benefit the population living in Hoima, Kibale and Kyenjojo districts through the upgrading of the Kyenjojo-Kigumba road. The road will improve access to markets, reduce public transport costs and increase access to social services.   This will provide the beneficiary areas with the potential for induced development that will boost local economies. 

Planning and investing in local infrastructure will provide benefits to the population living in the districts of Hoima and Buliisa, including rural and urban areas. The focus on the two district roads will benefit the populace to access infrastructure, markets and services. 

The project will also benefit trainees attending the Uganda technical college – Kichwamba (UTC) and Uganda Petroleum Institute in Kigumba (UPIK) and the new training institute to due for opening in Nwoya district.   

Road infrastructure will focus on improvements or repairs of district roads and some urban roads, local economic infrastructure will focus on markets, fish landing sites, storage facilities and slaughterhouses.  

By Dan Nsalasaata, Sunday, July 26th, 2015