On Tuesday (October 20, 2020) Parliament approved sh200b as part of Uganda’s contribution towards the project whose cost is estimated to be $334.5m (sh1.2tn).
A Ugandan local company will construct the 223km roads connecting Uganda to the Eastern part of the DRC, Saturday Vision has learnt.
Both the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will offer joint security to the company during the road construction process that is slated to start at the end of this year.
Provision of security was a key component of the bilateral agreement signed between the two countries for the joint construction of the road project which includes constructing the road from Kasindi to Beni (80km), Beni to Butembo (54Km), and Bunagana border to Rutshuru-Goma (89km).
Senior security sources confirmed that Eastern part of DR Congo was a haven for a number of rebel groups including the Allied Democratic Front that was credited with carrying out a series of atrocities at Ugandan border and in some parts of Eastern DRC.
The tarmacked roads, which will be the first of their kind in Eastern parts of DRC will be constructed under a public-private partnership which will see the Government of Uganda contribute 20% of the total construction cost, and the balance will be raised by DRC and the contractor.
On Tuesday (October 20, 2020) Parliament approved sh200b as part of Uganda's contribution towards the project whose cost is estimated to be $334.5m (sh1.2tn).
The Minister of Works General, Edward Katumba Wamala, on Wednesday (October 21, 2020) noted that they would be soon unveiling all the relevant documents concerning the project to Parliament before the construction process begins.
Construction of the roads is expected to begin in November after the completion of the feasibility studies to determine the exact cost of the road.
Katumba however noted that the construction of the road was part of plans by the Government of Uganda to boost trade between the two countries.
While speaking during the 58th Independence Day celebrations President Yoweri Museveni said, the construction of the roads seek to boost trade in order to enable Uganda to get resources.
Museveni noted that the proposed roads in DRC would help improve trade and investment between Uganda and the mineral-rich Central African country, when the road projects are finally implemented.
Plans to construct roads in the DRC were mooted in November 2019 when Congolese president Felix Tshisekedi visited Uganda for bilateral business talks held under the theme, "Promoting Bilateral Trade, Investment and Connectivity for Mutual Peace and Prosperity" which were aimed at providing a platform to the business communities from the two countries to share experiences.
Sources privy to the discussions over the project noted that one of the concerns raised was the issue of limited roads connecting towns on the other side of the border to the Ugandan border which had made travel difficult especially in the towns like Rutshuru, Goma, Butembo, Beni, and Bunia which are key towns on the upper eastern end of DRC.
DRC is one of the key export markets for Uganda. In 2018 Uganda's export to DRC stood at $533m with formal trade standing at $221m while informal trade stood at $312m.
Sources privy to the discussion over the road noted that the cost of construction was estimated at $ 335 M (sh1.25 tn).
The price however is an estimation subject to the feasibility studies that are yet to be completed.
The final price will also be determined by the nature of traffic and the tariff that will be imposed on the road to recover the construction costs.
Source noted that the two countries are supposed to issue a ratified communique possibly before the end of the month clearly explaining the status of the road which will be regarded as a treaty between the two countries.
Saturday Vision had learnt that under the agreement signed, the contractor is supposed to grade the roads and make motorable as staged construction in which scope will be determined by the committee headed by the Ministers in charge of infrastructure in the two countries.
There will also be a steering committee that will contain officials from the Ministry of Works and transport from Uganda and Ministry of infrastructure from DRC to ensure the construction process suffers no bottlenecks.