Bukoto Central Legislator and member of the Parliament Committee on Commissions Statutory Authority and State Enterprises (COSASE) Hon. Eng. Sebamala Richard has expressed discontent about the ownership of Exim Bank awaited to finance the construction of Uganda’s Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
Eng. Sebamala’s restlessness comes after attending the Budget Framework Paper meeting where Exim bank was presented as the entity to lend Uganda money for the construction of the SGR.
He said there is need to know why the government is insisting on getting loans from Exim bank to finance most of Uganda’s multibillion projects like the construction of Oil roads in the Albertine region, expansion of Entebbe International Airport and now the Standard Gauge Railway.
“Why do we insist on using Exim bank to lend us money all the time? Who owns it and how many shares do we have in it as a country?” he asked.
Eng. Sebamala said in Tanzania the Standard gauge Railway is financed by Turkey and asked why Uganda should only wait for the Exim Bank loan instead of contracting the same Turkish contractors in Tanzania to help us on this project.
“Is Exim Bank the only source of funds to finance our loans, Who is he?” Hon. Sebamala added.
About the SGR
The Uganda Standard Gauge Railway is a planned railway system linking the country to the neighboring countries of Kenya, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, as part of the East African Railway Master Plan.
The railway line is intended to ease the transfer of goods between the port of Mombasa and the city of Kampala, and subsequently to Kigali in Rwanda, and to Beni in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to Nimule and Juba in South Sudan. Goods would travel from Mombasa along the Kenya Standard Gauge Railway to Malaba, at the border with Uganda, and transfer on to this railway system.
The construction, is expected to be financed by the government of Uganda, using borrowed money from the Exim Bank of China. However, the loan cannot be approved by the lender until Kenya finalizes the funding arrangement for the Naivasha–Kisumu–Malaba section of its SGR.
The Malaba-Kampala section, with associated train stations and railway yards, measuring 273 kilometres (170 mi), is budgeted to cost US$2.3 billion.
Once funding is secured, the construction of the Eastern Line is expected to last 42 months. The entire 1,724 kilometers (1,071 mi) SGR in Uganda will cost an estimated $12.8 billion
The Government of Uganda wishes to start construction of its SGR in the 2022/2023 financial year, with the expectation that Kenya would have figured out how to fund the Naivasha to Malaba section when the Uganda SGR reaches Malaba, “by the end of the projected construction period”.