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Tuesday,October 20,2020 16:49 PM

Minister defends Congo road project

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th October 2020 10:32 AM

A section of the MPs wondered why Uganda would invest $66.9m in DRC, yet some roads in Uganda are dilapidated.

Minister defends Congo road project

Wamala said the Government is duty bound to create an enabling environment for the business community to trade, foster regional co-operation and security.

A section of the MPs wondered why Uganda would invest $66.9m in DRC, yet some roads in Uganda are dilapidated.

REGIONAL TRADE|INVESTMENT|INFRASTRUCTURE

KAMPALA - Works and transport minister Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala has said Uganda is guaranteed a high return on investment in the 223km road project in DR Congo.

Katumba dismissed sentiments, saying the project was well-conceived, with the sole intention of boosting Uganda's economy through deepening regional trade.

Katumba said if Uganda could earn $532m from trade with DRC in 2018, the return could be much higher with a well constructed road network.

Figures from the global trade quantifier; United Nations International Trade Statistics Database (COMTRADE) , indicate that in 2018, Uganda's total exports to DRC stood at $532m, with informal trade exports worth $312m and formal trade accounted for $221m. Uganda's imports from DRC were $34.49m.

He said the Government is duty bound to create an enabling environment for the business community to trade, foster regional co-operation and security.

The minister was speaking, Tuesday (October 6), during a press briefing at Uganda Media Centre in the capital Kampala.

The joint venture with DRC is estimated to cost $334.5m in total, with Uganda contributing $66.9m (20%), the same as DRC.

The remainder (60%) will be private funded. The clarification followed his prior engagement with MPs at Parliament on Monday, when they questioned the rationale of the project.

A section of the MPs wondered why Uganda would invest $66.9m in DRC, yet some roads in Uganda are dilapidated. But the minister said Ugandans should look at the broader picture and long-term benefits of the venture.

"There has been some misinterpretation about why Uganda is developing infrastructure in DRC. We do not operate in isolation. We have obligations that are bilateral, regional and international. When the two presidents met, they noted that poor road network was the impediment to trade," he said.

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