The Finance Ministry has tabled a loan request of Shillings 1.2 trillion for the Kampala-Jinja Expressway project. The project comprising the 77KM Kampala-Jinja Expressway and 18KM Kampala Southern Bypass aims at reducing traffic congestion in and around Kampala City, and provide rapid transport to/from the main economic hubs.
The two roads were among the expressways designated in the Second National Development Plan period of 2015-2020. Other include Kampala-Entebbe Expressway/ Munyonyo (51km), Kampala-Mpigi Expressway (35km), Kampala-Bombo Expressway (50km), Kampala – Busunju Expressway (approx.55km) and Kampala Outer Beltway (second ring road) (100km).
All these expressways were to be procured via Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and would be tolled. However, government has backtracked and presented a loan request of Shs 1.2 trillion to finance the Kampala-Jinja Expressway Project. US$ 229.47 (approximately Shillings 850.5bn) will be from the African Development Bank-AfDB and Euro 90 million (equivalent to US$ 105 million) from Agence Française de Development (AFD). The AFD loan is approximately Shillings 389.1 bn.
The total cost of the project is US$1,482.28 million approximately Shillings 5.4 trillion. Apart from the Shillings 1.2 trillion coming from the African Development Bank and Agence Française de Development (AFD), the Uganda government will contribute US$301 million about Shillings 1.1 trillion and receive a grant of Euro 90 million approximately Shillings 389.1 bn.
The balance approximately US$741 million (about Shs 2.7 trillion) will be mobilised from the private sector. The loan request comes weeks after the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga blocked a government proposal to borrow US$119 Million (approximately Shillings 440.6 billion) to upgrade three oil road projects over government’s failure to get a loan to finance the Jinja-Kampala Expressway.
The loan request for the Kampala-Jinja Expressway received bipartisan support when it was tabled by Finance State Minister for Planning, David Bahati on Wednesday. He also requested Kadaga to refer the loan request for the oil roads to the national committee. Kadaga answered in the affirmative.
Although Kadaga noted that the loan request for the Kampala-Jinja expressway project is not up for debate because the committee on National Economy will have to first process the request, some MPs insisted that they have important comments on the matter.
The MPs were largely excited about the request. Several MPs led by Kachumbala MP, Patrick Isiagi and his Busongora North counterpart, William Nzoghu welcomed the loan request for the Kampala Expressway project. Isiagi even urged the Speaker to suspend the rule that requires all bills and loan requests presented before parliament to be sent to the appropriate committees for analysis and recommendation.
The national economy committee is expected to review the loan request, purpose of the project and report back to parliament within 45 days. The supporting documents for the loan request indicate that 14% of the national road network of 20,455km is a vital transport corridor, which connects Eastern Uganda from Kenya to Kampala, to neighboring countries, Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Southern Sudan.
The project is therefore important as it will reduce the average journey time from the current 3.5 hours between Kampala and Jinja and improve traffic flow because of “the high proportion of heavy trucks coupled with increasing road side friction due to a number of developments and business activity on the side of the existing road.”
According to the feasibility studies, government argues that expanding the existing highway is a very expensive venture due to high value developments along the corridor and high cost of resettlement to acquire right of way.
The Kampala-Jinja Expressway (KJE) route alignment starts at Lugogo where it links with the Kampala Flyover project to the west, the Source of the Nile Bridge to the East, the Kampala Northern Bypass to the North and the Kampala-Entebbe Express Spur to Munyonyo on the Southern side.
The project will be implemented in two phases within 18 months. Phase 1 covers the Kampala Southern Bypass. Kampala-Namagunga (53km) is estimated to cost US$760 million about (Shs 2.8 Trillion). The second phase will be the Namagunga-Jinja (42km) section, which is estimated to cost US$380 million about Shs 1.4 Trillion