By Vision Reporter
President Yoweri Museveni yesterday commissioned the construction of the Gulu- Nimule highway to cost sh89b.
The first phase will cover construction of the Gulu-Atiak road. The second phase will cover Atiak-Nimule road. Construction work delayed due to tender disputes.
The 104-kum high-way is to be upgraded from gravel to tarmac. This is intended to ease transport between Uganda and South Sudan, a lucrative market for Ugandan business community.
The Gulu - Nimule highway has become a busy route as it connects Uganda to the newly independent Republic of South Sudan.
The road which is being constructed by China Henan International Cooperation Group Limited, will be completed in August 2014.
"We are here to launch the construction of Gulu-Atyak road and later on Atyak-Nimule road. This is what I promised you during the elections. Northern Uganda will be rehabilitated; but also developed. When we talk of rehabilitation we mean repairing all the old infrastructures. NRM is not only talking of repairing the old infrastructures but also building new ones," Museveni said while commissioning the multi-billion project.
The ceremony was held at St. Joseph's College-Layibi playground.
Museveni said that there are big projects lined up like Amuru Sugar factory and Karuma power project as part of rehabilitating and developing northern Uganda.
"I hear my sister, Aol (Betty Aol Ocan, Gulu woman MP) saying that we should encourage local investors instead of foreign investors, investors are not made by our wish, I cannot sit here and pray to God to make Aol rich to become an investor," he said.
"There is nothing wrong with local investors if they are there, but we cannot welcome investors of words only, we want investors with money," he remarked.
Museveni stated that with peace now, the local investors will slowly get money, but for now Uganda needs foreign investors.
Earlier Museveni visited Lakang village where the Amuru Sugar factory is to be located. He said that NRM government is committed to developing northern Uganda by first dealing with the core economy.
"We have got a big project in the name of Karuma power project that will produce more power than Jinja and Bujagali. The project will turn the areas of Minakulu and Nwoya into commercial centers. The other roads to be developed include Gulu-Kitgum road, Lira-Kitgum and Olwiyo-Anaka-Gulu road. All these are in our manifesto," he said.
He promised to re-equip St. Joseph's College-Layibi's workshop and provide the school with a tractor for agriculture. He said government plans to build teachers' houses in all the government-aided schools so that teachers do not walk long distances to school.
The World Bank Country Manager for Uganda, Ahmadou Moustapha Ndiaye said that the commissioning of the project "demonstrates that World Bank's lending is bearing some fruits."
He noted that with the improvement is the condition of roads, the next issue will be how to control the carnage on the roads.
He said World Bank will support road safety efforts, and revealed that the Bank is in discussion with the minister of works and transport for the establishment of a National Roads Safety Authority.
Works minister, Eng. Abraham Byandala said 90% of the people affected by the road construction have been compensated. He added that the contract for building Atyak-Nimule road will soon be signed.
The Gulu district chairman, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi said that the tarmacking of Gulu-Juba road will make possible the reintegration of Southern Sudan with the East African community.