Approval granted for loan to refurbish Kampala-Malaba Railway

Approval franted for loan to refurbish Kampala-Malaba Railway

by Nathan Buabeng

In order to increase trade and bring Uganda into line with other East African Community member nations, the Parliament has asked the government to move quickly with the reconstruction of the Kampala-Malaba meter gauge railway.

The House unanimously approved a report that was presented by Hon. John Bosco Ikojo, Chair of the Committee on National Economy, before this appeal was made. According to the paper, the government should request loans totaling 147.69 million euros from the African Development Fund and another 25.9841 million euros from Spain’s Corporate Internationalization Fund.

Hon. Ikojo noted that the renovation of the railway intends to strengthen trade competitiveness, boost transport links, and support industries like agro-processing, mining, and manufacturing. The committee emphasized that the government must make sure that the Uganda Railways Corporation and the railroad police are properly outfitted to protect the train infrastructure from theft and vandalism.

The report also recommended that the government set aside Sh79.93 billion to pay out compensation to those affected by the railway expansion, assuring prompt project completion and lowering compensation expenses in the future.

The committee also suggested that the government spend money on a factory that produces concrete sleepers. Concrete sleepers would be produced at this state-owned facility, which would be crucial for the development and rehabilitation of other railroad lines across the country.

As Thomas Tayebwa, the deputy speaker, presided over the session on August 23, 2023, several MPs emphasized the significance of using the loan just for that reason, which will benefit Ugandans. The Mawokota County North Hon. Hillary Kiyaga made a comment regarding the importance of upholding the borrowing target.

Given that 70% of inland products pass via the Eastern region of Uganda, Hon. Bernard Onen emphasized the railway’s potential to alter the transportation industry, echoing the report’s view. The loan was supported by Hon. Jenipher Namuyangu, Minister of State for Bunyoro Affairs, who emphasized how it may revolutionize transportation between different areas.

However, Hon. Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi, a member of parliament for Butambala County, voiced his worries. He raised concerns about the loan’s nearly identical amount to the government’s counterpart money, especially given that it wasn’t budgeted. He also voiced concerns about the loan’s interest rates and urged careful examination.

Hon. Henry Musasizi, Minister of State for Finance, concluded by making it clear that in addition to other projects, the monies will also be used for feasibility studies, physical planning, asset management, waste management, traffic evaluations, and environmental assessments.

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