The Kampala-Malaba Railway Line

Parliament has approved a government request to borrow Euros 216.7 million from the African Development Fund (ADF), Euros84.41 million from the African Development Bank (ADB) and Euros25.9 million from the Corporate Internalisation Fund of Spain.

The loan totalling approximately shs1.4 trillion will facilitate the refurbishment of the Kampala-Malaba Metre Gauge Railway Project.

Hon. Syda Bbumba, told the House sitting on Tuesday, 11 May 2021 that the government proposed the Metre Gauge Railways project that will entail rehabilitation of the line from Malaba-Kampala (250 kilometres), Kampala-Port Bell (8.3 kilometres) and Kampala-Nalukolongo-Kyengera (12.3 kilometres); totalling to 270.6 kilometres.

The government also has plans to purchase and rehabilitate coaches, wagons and locomotives, create a railway training school to equip Uganda Railway Corporation’s (URC) management and staff with modern railway management skills, stock and spare parts.

"If the Metre Gauge Railway project is implemented, the cost of transport by rail will improve from the current average of between US$0.09 - $0.13 per NTK-net ton kilometre to $0.05, hence reducing the cost of doing business," said Syda Bbumba.

According to the committee report, implementation of the Metre Gauge Railway will improve commuters' travel time within a 12-kilometre distance from two hours to 20 minutes, and the cargo per month will improve from 20,000 tons to 300,000 tons per month.

The Committee on National Economy recommended that the URC should evaluate the possibility of using the army to deliver some of the project outputs with a view of reducing the cost of rehabilitating the Metre Gauge Railway.

Questions have been raised as to why the government has been slow in executing the Standard Gauge Railway Project and now wanted to borrow funds to facilitate the Metre Gauge Railway project, when its neighbours in the region are developing standard gauge projects, in addition to the concern raised over the debt burden of the loan.

The Minister of State for Finance, Hon. David Bahati, told the House that the country's debt burden was not alarming and was still one of the best in the region, and assured MPs that the Standard Gauge Railway project was still on course; owing to consultations with China for the project to kick off in the next two years.

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