Parliament has approved government borrowing of up to Shs459 billion from Japanese and European banks meant for the completion of construction of the new bridge across the River Nile.
The other loan is meant to finance the Masaka-Mbarara power transmission line.
The loans were contained in two separate motions presented on the floor of Parliament by Finance Minister Hon. David Bahati (Ndorwa West County) during a plenary sitting on Tuesday, 13 March, 2018.
The additional loan to complete construction works on the new bridge across the River Nile at Jinja raised queries from MPs on its marginality, given that it had been computed in Japanese Yen, to be borrowed by Government from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
“The relevant project officers should explain where the issue of variations in budgeting arises from,” said Hon. Julius Ocen (Kapelebyong County)
“Some Government projects haven’t been completed in time, and they have failed to meet the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy to support local content,” noted Ngora County MP David Abala.
MPs also expressed concern over the varying figures of the proposed loan that had been put at JPY 4.918 billion, which the vice chairperson of the committee on National Economy, Lawrence Bategeka (Hoima Municipality) clarified as being JPY3.891 billion (Shs 133 billion).
Hon. Bahati noted that the differences in money figures was due to exchange loss of the money that had been received through to the time which it was used to implement the project adding that, “…the bids were higher than the amount of money borrowed.”
In 2011, Parliament approved concessional financing of JPY 9.198 billion from JICA for the construction of the new River Nile Bridge with the construction commencing two years later in 2013. The completion date has been moved aheadby two months from April 2018.
Government is also scheduled to borrow Euro37.1 million from the French Agency for Development and another Euro35 million from the German Development Bank to finance the Masaka-Mbarara power transmission.
The Committee on National Economy observed that there was slow implementation of electricity projects as well as continued escalating compensations that needed to be catered for.