By Joel Ogwang
IN a move geared at fast-tracking the construction of four multibillion road projects under a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP), the government has sourced technical support from the World Bank.
As a result, the finance ministry has allowed the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to engage the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank to be its transaction advisor for the expressway projects.
In a meeting held on March 25, IFC agreed, in principle, to support UNRA’s preparation for PPP projects, says Eng. David Luyimbazi, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) director of planning.
“Trademark East Africa is also going to provide oversight support to UNRA in the management of PPP preparation, procurement and implementation,” he says. “All these arrangements will be tied-up in three months and we will be good to go.”
In what will comprise the most expensive cluster of road projects in Uganda’s history, the government plans to follow-up construction of the $476m Kampala- Entebbe expressway, launched by President Yoweri Museveni in November 2012, with four projects valued at over $1.5b (about sh3.983 trillions). They are;
The Kampala- Jinja expressway project
Estimated at $600m- $800m (sh1.6 trillion- sh2.13 trillion), the new road intendedto decongest the old and dilapidated Kampala- Jinja road that forms part of the Trans-African highway, is top priority.
Dan Alinange, the UNRA publicist, notes that Government of Uganda (GoU) will foot compensation bills to create a right-of-way for the contractor to commence works.
“We have the preliminary map and we know where the road will pass,” he says. “The detailed and final design for the road will be completed by June 2013. After that, we will start educating people about the compensation process.”
Construction of the 80km state-of-the-art road is expected to commence in 2015. Sh200b has been earmarked for compensation of Project Affected Persons (PAPs).
The new road will avoid the old Kampala- Jinja highway, starting from Kampala to Bweyogerere before taking a right direction off the existing road and Mukono town on the right.
Upon completion over a four-year construction period, the road will be only the second of its kind in Uganda, after the ultra-modern 51.4km Kampala- Entebbe expressway where motorists will utilise on a pay-per-use basis (toll).
However, unlike the new Kampala- Entebbe road whose works were funded through a concessional loan from the Chinese Government, the Kampala- Jinja expressway will be financed through a PPP involving a consortium of financier (s), contractor (s) and insurance companies, while the Government of Uganda (GoU) funds compensation costs, notes Luyimbazi.
“It (consortium) will be an investment club,” he notes “The investor will recover the money through tolling over a 20- 25-year concessional period. The design of the road will be finished in the next three months.”
Through PPPs, the government intends to depart from funding of expensive priority road projects off the consolidated fund, a practice blamed for Uganda’s poor road network, with only about 4, 000kms out of 21, 000kms of national roads under tarmac.
Upon completion, the road will encompass eight lanes between Nakawa- Kyambogo, Kyambogo- Lugazi (six-lanes) and Lugazi- Jinja (four-lanes) and feed into the Kampala- Entebbe expressway via the southern bypass.
The Kampala Southern bypass
The 18km bypass currently under design, will link the Kampala- Jinja expressway through an interchange at Bweyogere and join the Kampala- Entebbe expressway off a spur at Munyonyo, creating a ‘ring-road’.
Upon completion of the projects over a 10-year period, a motorist will be able to drive through the Kampala northern bypass, connect to the Kampala- Jinja expressway through to the Kampala- Entebbe expressway and back to the Kampala northern bypass.
“We (UNRA) have agreed on the alignment of the bypass. We are trying to gazette the right-of-way to freeze anymore development in the corridor,” says Luyimbazi.
The bypass will be constructed concurrently with the Kampala- Jinja expressway. The finance ministry, he says, has promised to advance funds for compensation well in advance so that the contractor finds unencumbered right-of-way.
Construction of the bypass is estimated at $250m (about sh663.75b). “It will be funded under a PPP, with the government financing compensation for the right-of-way,” says Alinange. “We hope to start the process of resettlement and land acquisition next 2013-14 FY.”
However, with Uganda lacking an enabling law on PPP, the projects may not kick-start in the estimated period. For example, UNRA has not yet started on procuring contractors, among others.
This, Alinange says, will not stop UNRA from starting the process of land acquisition.
The Kampala-Mpigi expressway
Another road project to be constructed under a PPP is the 40km Kampala- Mpigi expressway, estimated to cost between $300m- $350m (sh796.5b- sh929.3b).
The road will lock into the Kampala- Entebbe expressway through a junction near Busega. “We are still discussing with the ministry of finance on when its construction should start,” says Luyimbazi. “We are preparing the compensation figures, but it cost about sh70b.”
The detailed design for the road will be finalised by the end of this 2012-13 FY before sourcing for funds commences.
The Kampala- Bombo expressway
This completes the list of four multibillion road projects intended to ease mobility and trade around the central Uganda axis.
Through international bidding, UNRA is seeking to procure a consultant to prepare a design for the Kampala- Bombo expressway, says Luyimbazi.
“We plan to hire a consultant to begin its design by October 2013,” he says. “It is still too early to estimate the construction and compensation costs.”
Like the Kampala- Jinja expressway, Southern bypass and the Kampala- Mpigi expressway, the Kampala- Bombo expressway will also be financed through a PPP.
Government teams-up with World Bank to build over $1.5b road projects