Kampala- Donors have threatened to withdraw funding for construction of two high voltage electricity transmission line projects delayed due to lack of timely compensation of land owners.
According to Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) chief executive officer Willy K Kiryahika, some corrupt government officials in the Lands ministry deliberately delay to make new titles for land owners after their land has been curved off for construction of transmission lines.
“The ultimate impact of these delays to land acquisition is that all financiers are threatening to pull out of financing infrastructure projects that has land acquisition because of the uncertainty surrounding the resolution of compensation disputes,” he told Daily Monitor last week.
“African Development Bank has written to us indicating that they would withdraw funding for the Mbarara-Nkenda 132kV transmission line, 160km and Tororo-Lira 132kV transmission line, 260km worth $34 million (Shs122.4 billion) and $31 million (Shs111.6 billion) respectively,” Mr Kiryahika said.
He added: “They (ADB) have expressed their disappointment with government and given notice of withdrawing funds by September 2017 if we do not clean our house.”
Mr Kiryahika further explained: “Land belongs to the people (Article 26 of Uganda Constitution) and some land owners reject government offers as per government valuer. This cause delay as land cannot be handed to the contractors.”
He added: “Some speculators also buy the land earlier before construction of power lines kick off and expect ‘fat’ compensation from government. Some go ahead and change the property structures on the land after government survey is done.”
UETCL manager corporate services Martin Erone called for the amendment of the Land Acquisition Act of 1964 to be consistent with the Constitution.