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Friday, March 31, 2023

Uganda’s Expressway under construction despite huge debt

Uganda is expected to open its expressway highway that has been built by the Chinese.

The highway has however been tangled in a controversy even though the four lane road will be the crown jewel of the country.Its also expected to boost economic growth of the country.

President Yoweri Museveni has however been criticized for reckless borrowing with fears of one day bringing the country to a hault.He has also been accused of squandering debt relief and mortgaging revenue from the anticipated crude oil that is expected to flow in 2020.

Chinese alone have loaned Uganda nearly $3 billion and are in talks for an additional $2.3 billion as part of its vast overseas development belt and road scheme.

The highway construction which began in 2012 is supposed to end in May,a month later than the anticipated period.The auditor general Mr John Muwanga is not worried about the period but the price of construction.

In 2015,his report indicated that the cost per kilometer was double that of Ethiopia’s six lane road that was constructed by the same company and with even more features like an underpass.

 The auditor general report only include the comparison between the two roads and left out the amount spent to acquire the land.A lecturer at Makerere University,Mr Fred Muhumuza said the price was “insane”.Muhumuz helped to carry out the initial economic research of the road.

Even though the world bank forgave Uganda a debt of $3.5 billion in 2012,the debt right now stands at $11.2 billion as per the figures of Central bank.

In the 2018/2019 budget,repayments are at 17.3 percents as public hospitals suffer from shortage of drugs and other basic supplies.So far teachers,doctors and other public servants have gone on strike due to unpaid salaries.

Other projects funded by the Chinese include two new hydro-power dams on River Nile worth $2 billion and a $325 million expansion of Entebbe Airport.Talks are also underway to fund construction of a $2.3 billion railway.


Slavian Mwangecho
Passionate blogger on a day to day activities happening in Kenya, Africa and around the world. A keen follower of the latest news making headlines around the world

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