The Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa has slammed bureaucratic procurement procedures that cause unnecessary delays in implementing national strategic projects.
Tayebwa made the remarks while chairing the plenary sitting on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, following a statement by Mr. Fred Byabakama, the State Minister for Transport on the status of Kampala-Jinja Expressway.
The Deputy Speaker wondered why the procurement process for the construction of the Kampala – Jinja Expressway has taken more than five years, a development he said is already costing the taxpayers’ money.
“Why should procurement take five years? You told us that you were starting the road when a bag of cement was still at shs20,000 now it is at shs35,000. Who is going to pay for this?” Mr. Tayebwa wondered.
The Kampala-Jinja Expressway Project loan amounting to Shs842 billion secured from the African Development Bank has already cost the taxpayer Shs3 billion in commitment fees. The works on the project are yet to commence.
In a statement presented to Parliament, Minister Byabakama said the Kampala-Jinja Expressway will be undertaken as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project in accordance with the PPP Act, 2015.
He said the developer will need to mobilize private financing towards the implementation of the project, which they will recover over a 25-year Operation and Maintenance period.
Mr. Byabakama said all the bidders participating in the procurement have raised ‘bankability issues’ that affect the ability to commit private financing to the project.
“This includes a Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG) covering annual payments that will be made to the Developer. During the O&M period, the Developer will be fully reliant on government of Uganda to make timely payments for it to meet its debt and other payment obligations,” he said.
Without the guarantee, he said, private finance cannot be secured at competitive rates.
“The PRG is under discussion with the Ministry of Finance and once it has been approved, the procurement will proceed with the issuance of the final bidding documents to the pre-qualified bidders. Within one year of issuance, the contract with the selected Developer will be signed,” the Minister said.
The Minister appraised Parliament that the land required for 45km has been acquired including 14km along the Southern Bypass and 31 km along the Kampala – Jinja mainline.
“The progress of compensation has been slowed down by lack of funds to effect payments,” Mr. Byabakama told MPs.
By December 2024, he said the government targets to have acquired the full section from Kampala to Namagunga and the whole Kampala Southern Bypass.
“The rest of the land from Namagunga to Jinja is planned to be acquired by December 2025,” he said but insisted that the development is fully dependent on budgetary allocation for land acquisition.