East Africa National News

Parliament Urges Swift Action on Kampala-Malaba Railway Revitalization to Boost Trade and Connectivity

Parliament has directed the government to speed up the revitalization of the Kampala-Malaba meter gauge railway, aiming to boost trade, transportation, and alignment with fellow East African Community nations.

This directive comes after the unanimous approval of a report presented by the Committee on National Economy, led by Hon. John Bosco Ikojo. The report endorses the government’s plan to borrow around 147.69 million Euros from the African Development Fund and 25.9841 million Euros from Spain’s Corporate Internationalization Fund.

Ikojo highlighted the railway’s refurbishment’s goals, including improved transport connectivity, enhanced trade competitiveness, and support for various industries such as agro-processing, mining, timber, petroleum, and manufacturing. The committee recommended that the Uganda Railways Corporation and railway police receive sufficient resources to safeguard the railway infrastructure against theft and vandalism.

To ensure smooth project implementation and reduce future compensation expenses, the committee urged the government to allocate 79.93 billion Ugandan Shillings for compensating individuals within the railway corridor, thereby freeing up essential land from encroachments.

Additionally, the committee suggested establishing a government-owned concrete sleeper production facility to aid in the rehabilitation of the railway and other rail lines across the nation.

During deliberations chaired by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, several MPs emphasized the responsible utilization of the loan for the country’s benefit. They voiced concerns about loans being misappropriated for unrelated purposes. The establishment of the railway was deemed transformative for the transportation sector, particularly in the Eastern part of the country, which handles a significant portion of inland goods transport.

While some MPs questioned the proportionality of government’s counterpart funding and the loan amount, others raised concerns about high interest rates and called for rigorous analysis of the loan request.

The Minister of State for Finance, Hon. Henry Musasizi, clarified that the borrowed funds would also cover feasibility studies, physical planning, resource revenue enhancement, waste management, asset management, and assessments related to traffic and the environment.

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