Govt joins World Bank to build $1.5b road projects

By Vision reporter

The Government has secured technical support in order to fast-track the construction of four multibillion road projects under a public private partnership (PPP). The finance ministry has allowed the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to engage the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the p

By Joel Ogwang

The Government has secured technical support in order to fast-track the construction of four multibillion road projects under a public private partnership (PPP).

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 March 25 meeting, IFC agreed to support UNRA’s preparation for the PPP projects, said Eng. David Luyimbazi, the 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 added.

“All the arrangements will be done in three months.”

In what will be 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 roads valued at over $1.5b (about sh3.9 trillions).

Kampala-Jinja expressway

One of the roads is the Kampala-Jinja expressway estimated at about $800m (about sh2.13 trillion). The new road will help decongest the old Kampala-Jinja road that forms part of the Trans-African highway.

Dan Alinange, the UNRA spokesperson, noted that the Government will foot compensation bills to create 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. About sh200b has been earmarked for compensation of the affected people.

The new road will avoid the old Kampala-Jinja highway, starting from Kampala to Bweyogerere before taking a right direction off the existing road in Mukono town.

Upon completion, the road will be the second of its kind in Uganda after the ultra-modern 51.4km Kampala-Entebbe expressway 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 funds compensation costs, notes Luyimbazi.

“It (consortium) will be an investment club,” he notes.

“The investor will recover the money through charging a toll fee from road users over a 20- 25-year concessional period.”

Through PPPs, the Government intends to depart from funding expensive road projects off the Consolidated Fund, a practice blamed for Uganda’s poor road network, with only about 4,000km out of 21,000km of national roads tarmacked.

Upon completion, the road will cover 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.

Kampala Southern Bypass

The other road is the 18km Kampala Southern Bypass currently under design. It 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 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 any more development in the corridor,” said Luyimbazi.

The bypass will be constructed concurrently with the Kampala-Jinja expressway. The finance ministry, he added, has promised to advance funds for compensation 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,” noted Alinange.

“We hope to start the process of resettlement and land acquisition next financial year.”

However, with Uganda lacking an enabling law on PPPs, the projects may not start in the estimated period. For example, UNRA has not yet started on procuring contractors.

This, Alinange says, will not stop the authority from starting the process of land acquisition.

Kampala-Mpigi expressway

The Kampala-Mpigi expressway is another road under the project. It is estimated to cost about $350m (about sh929.3b).

The road will lock into the Kampala-Entebbe expressway through a junction near Busega.

“We are still discussing with the finance ministry on when its construction should start,” says Luyimbazi.

“We are preparing the compensation figures, which will be about sh70b.”

The detailed design for the road will be finalised by the end of this financial year before sourcing for funds commences.

Kampala-Bombo expressway

This Kampala-Bombo expressway completes the list of the four roads 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 road, says Luyimbazi.

“We plan to hire a consultant to begin its design by October,” he says. “It is still too early to estimate the construction and compensation costs.”

Like the Kampala-Jinja expressway, the Southern bypass and the Kampala-Mpigi expressway, the Kampala-Bombo expressway will also be financed through a PPP.

Govt joins World Bank to build $1.5b road projects