Transport sector takes lion’s share of Budget

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KAMPALA. The Works and Transport sector emerged winner with Shs4.5 trillion allocated to the sector for next financial year 2017/2018, which represents 20.2 per cent of the Shs29 trillion resource envelope.
The sector received a Shs700b enhancement from Shs3.8 trillion allocated during this financial year ending later this month.
The roads sub-sector will take the biggest chunk of Shs3.4 trillion through the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) charged with maintaining and developing national roads.

Finance minister Matia Kasaija, reading the budget in Kampala yesterday, said the plan is to “continue” expanding the paved national roads network in addition to embarking on construction of 10 critical roads needed urgently in mid-western Uganda in the oil belt to fast-track oil activities to enable commercial production that is expected to start by 2020.
The oil roads are, Hoima-Butiaba-Wanseko; Masindi-Biiso; Masindi-Bugungu via Murchison Falls; Kaseeta-Lweera via Bugoma Forest; Hohwa-Nyairongo-Kyarusesa; Wanseko-Bugungu; Buhimba- Nyarweyo-Kakindo-Kakumiro-Mubende; Lusalira-Kaibamba-Nkonge-Sembabule; Kyotera-Rakai; and Kabale-Kiziramfumbi.
For maintenance of both the paved and unpaved roads, the Uganda Road Fund (URF) was allocated Shs413b.

Mr Kasaija revealed that the stock of paved roads has increased from 3,317km, almost seven years ago, to 4,919km currently, just only 1,081km short of the 6,000km target contained in the second National Development Plan ( II) that runs until 2020.
The minister also made mention of ongoing acquisition of the proposed right of way from Malaba to Kampala for the proposed much hyped Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
“Negotiations to conclude the financing for the construction of the SGR project are also underway. Talks with the Kenya government to ensure the synchronisation of the construction of the Kampala-Malaba SGR section with the Naivasha-Kisumu-Malaba one are ongoing,” he said.

Mr Kasaija further revealed ongoing plans, in advanced stages, to terminate Rift Valley Railways (RVR) from operating the old railway line 13 years early from agreed end date of the concession. Both Uganda and Kenya want RVR out, and for Uganda management of the railway line will revert to the Uganda Railways Corporation.
Similarly, the minister also made mention of plans to revive water transport, especially on Lake Victoria, starting with the revamp of Port Bell and the Jinja pier and later embarking on construction of the Bukasa Port in Wakiso District.

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