Uganda Expedites Kampala-Malaba Railway Upgrade

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The Ugandan Parliament has authorized the government to expedite the renovation of the Kampala-Malaba meter gauge railway to enhance trade and connectivity. This decision follows the approval of a loan proposal totaling 147.69 million euros from the African Development Fund and 25.9841 million euros from Spain’s Corporate Internationalization Fund. The railway’s upgrade aims to improve trade competitiveness and support various industries.

In order to improve trade and transportation and to put the nation on par with her sister East African Community partner states, Parliament has given the government the responsibility of expediting the renovation of the Kampala-Malaba meter gauge railway.

The call comes after the report on the government’s proposal to borrow up to 147.69 million euros from the African Development Fund and 25.9841 million euros from the Corporate Internationalization Fund of Spain was unanimously adopted by the House and presented by Hon. John Bosco Ikojo, Chair of the Committee on National Economy.

Ikojo stated that the railway line renovation aims to improve trade competitiveness, increase transport interconnectivity, and support output in the agro-processing, mining, lumber, petroleum, and manufacturing industries.

The committee recommends that the government provide appropriate support to the Uganda Railways Corporation and the railway police so that they can patrol and guard the railway infrastructure against theft and vandalism.

The report urged the government to give Sh79.93 billion to compensate those who had been harmed by the railway corridor so that the much-needed land could be cleared of encroachments in time for project completion and to reduce the costs of future reparations.

The committee also recommended that the government invest in a fully functional, government-owned concrete sleeper manufacturing facility to make it easier to produce concrete sleepers for the renovation and construction of additional rail lines across the nation.

On Wednesday, August 23, 2023, parliament, presided over by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, held a lengthy discussion on the report’s recommendations. Several MPs called on the government to make sure that the loan is used wisely for the benefit of Ugandans.

“We arrive with the desire to support loans, but they end up being used for various non-essential activities. How can we maintain the purpose of the borrowing? Hillary Kiyaga, MP for Mawokota County North, was questioned.

Speaking about the study, Hon. Bernard Onen, the Eastern Region Youth Representative, emphasized that the construction of the railway line would revolutionize the transportation industry because 70% of the country’s interior commodities are moved through the Eastern region.

Hon. Jenipher Namuyangu, Minister of State for Bunyoro Affairs, pleaded with the House to approve the loan, claiming that it will transform the transportation industry while tying numerous districts together.

However, Hon. Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi, a member of parliament representing Butambala County, questioned why the government’s counterpart funding was almost equal to the amount that would be borrowed yet was not budgeted for.

Muwanga Kivumbi urged the House to thoroughly examine the loan request and raised worry that the interest rate was too high.

The money will also be used for feasibility studies, physical planning, resource revenue improvement, waste management practices, asset management, traffic and environmental assessment, among other things, the House was informed by the Minister of State for Finance in charge of General Duties, Hon. Henry Musasizi.

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