In Summary

  • The World Bank in January 2016 suspended funding on key roadworks in the oil region and eastern Uganda to force government to act on accusations of abuse of young girls on Fort Portal-Kamwenge road, among other issues.
  • Government through Unra and other stakeholders have made several interventions since January 2016 and in October 2016, the Minister of Finance, Mr Matia Kasaija, went to Washington, US to appeal to WB on the loan suspension which government then said was a double punishment to the locals.

HOIMA/KAMWENGE: The World Bank (WB) will in the next two months lift the suspended loans on the two road projects in Uganda after government made good progress in addressing environmental and social issues that led to the ban.
“There are issues we take seriously, we are happy Uganda has responded to these issues and it has had tremendous progress, so in a couple of months we shall make a statement on the loans,” said Mr Andrew Bvumbe, the World Bank Africa Group executive director.

Mr Bvumbe was addressing journalists at Bigodi in Kamwenge District on Thursday after touring Hoima-Kabwoya, Kagadi-Kyenjojo and Fort Portal-Kamwenge road projects. He was accompanied by the Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) team led by its executive director, Ms Allen Kagina.
The World Bank in January 2016 suspended funding on key roadworks in the oil region and eastern Uganda to force government to act on accusations of abuse of young girls on Fort Portal-Kamwenge road, among other issues.
The accusations included sexual abuse of female employees levelled against the Chinese Railway Seventh Group hired to work on the 66.2km Kamwenge-Fort Portal road project which loan was cancelled in December 2015.

“For us (WB) we are happy after hearing from the horse’s mouth (locals), we were worried about child abuse but now we are satisfied and happy that girls are going back to school, these are issues we take seriously,” Mr Bvumbe said.
He added: “The local grievance committee (at Bigodi) has rated the progress of Unra at 8.5:10, which is a high rate of achievement”.
Asked whether the suspended loans will be automatically lifted, Mr Bvumbe said: “This is a process, next week we shall sit to review the progress and after two months we shall lift them.”
Other roadworks that the WB suspended funding include the 100km Kyenjojo-Kagadi-Kabwoya-Hoima road under the Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project and the 340km Tororo-Mbale-Soroti-Lira-Kamdini stretch under the North Eastern Road-Corridor Asset Management Project.

Interventions
Government through Unra and other stakeholders have made several interventions since January 2016 and in October 2016, the Minister of Finance, Mr Matia Kasaija, went to Washington, US to appeal to WB on the loan suspension which government then said was a double punishment to the locals.
The Fort Portal-Kamwenge road project, which is now being implemented by Unra, was being funded by the WB at Shs120b.
Works that had been halted in early 2016 later resumed and are almost in the last phase after government secured Shs85b for its completion, which according to Ms Kagina, at the time of cancellation were at 48 per cent but now they are at 91 per cent.
Ms Kagina said: “Unra has addressed environmental concerns and social issues raised in all the projects across the country, contracts have changed, before they did not have environmental and social issues in the bidding documents.”
The Fort Portal-Kamwenge section is part of the Nyakahita-Rushere-Ibanda-Kamwenge-Fort Portal highway.

The suspension

The World Bank in January 2016 suspended funding on key roadworks in the oil region and eastern Uganda to force government to act on accusations of abuse of young girls on Fort Portal-Kamwenge road, among other issues. The accusations included sexual abuse of female employees levelled against the Chinese Railway Seventh Group hired to work on the 66.2km Kamwenge-Fort Portal road project which loan was cancelled in December 2015. Other road works that the WB suspended funding include the 100km Kyenjojo-Kagadi-Kabwoya-Hoima road under the Albertine Region Sustainable Development Project and the 340km Tororo-Mbale-Soroti-Lira-Kamdini stretch under the North Eastern Road-Corridor Asset Management Project.

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