Parliament Approves Shs450 Billion Loan for Kitgum-Kidepo Road Upgrade

Parliament has granted approval for the government to secure a loan of up to Euro 110,543,947.52 (approximately Shs 450 billion) from Standard Chartered Bank.

 The loan is earmarked to finance the ambitious Kitgum-Kidepo Road upgrading project, spanning 115 kilometers and linking the Kitgum and Kaabong districts.

During the plenary sitting on Tuesday, April 30, 2024, the motion for approval was eloquently presented by the Minister of State for Finance (General Duties), Hon. Henry Musasizi, in the presence of Speaker Anita Among and esteemed Members of Parliament.

Minister Musasizi articulated the rationale behind prioritizing the road upgrade, emphasizing its pivotal role in bolstering tourism and regional development.

 He remarked, “This sub-region has the lowest road density of 5.9 kilometers of paved national roads per 1,000 square kilometers of land area.” He further highlighted the project’s significance in addressing the socio-economic challenges faced by the Karamoja-sub-region, characterized by high levels of poverty.

Furthermore, Minister Musasizi underscored the strategic importance of the upgraded road in facilitating enhanced trade and connectivity with neighboring countries such as South Sudan and Kenya.

 He emphasized that the inadequacy of tourism infrastructure, including roads, has hindered the full exploitation of Uganda’s tourism potential, compelling tourists to navigate through substandard gravel roads to access national parks.

However, concerns were raised by legislators regarding the absence of a report from the House Committee on National Economy, tasked with scrutinizing the loan request. In response, the Government Chief Whip, Hon. Denis Hamson Obua, proposed a motion to waive the requirement, clearing the path for the debate to proceed without the committee’s report.

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Despite objections voiced by several Members of Parliament, including the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Joel Senyonyi, Hon. Jonathan Odur (UPC, Erute County South), and Hon. Ssemujju Nganda (FDC, Kira Municipality), the decision was made to proceed with the debate.

Senyonyi expressed concerns about setting a precedent of approving agreements without proper scrutiny, cautioning against potential risks associated with problematic agreements. He remarked, “Many times, government enters into problematic agreements. The matter was sent to the Committee, but the committee has not produced a report.”

Nevertheless, the majority decision to proceed with the loan approval underscores Parliament’s commitment to addressing infrastructure deficits and fostering economic growth in Uganda’s North Eastern region.

 The approved loan represents a significant step towards realizing the transformative potential of the Kitgum-Kidepo Road upgrading project in Uganda’s socio-economic landscape.

It serves as a landmark decision aimed at addressing infrastructure deficits and stimulating economic development in Uganda’s North Eastern region.

 

The post Parliament Approves Shs450 Billion Loan for Kitgum-Kidepo Road Upgrade appeared first on Watchdog Uganda.

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