Minister of Finance Hon Matia Kasaija and the Japanese Ambassador to Uganda H.E Kazuaki Kameda on Friday signed an MoU for the Grant Aid for the construction of a Traffic Control project in Kampala City.
The $23 million project grant is provided by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Minister Kasaija said the project is timely as it will help address the heavy traffic congestion in the city.
“Traffic congestion has been and still remains a challenge for sustainable urban development and therefore needs to be urgently tackled by the Government. With this project, we are comfortable that traffic congestion will reduce,” said Kasaija
The Minister attributed the challenge of congestion to rapid growth of the economy, which grew by 6% over the last two years.
According to JICA Chief Representative Mr Fukase Yutaka, under this project a traffic control center building will be set up at City Hall, while about 30 critical junctions will be improved with signalized intersections.
“The important characteristic of this project is that the Traffic Control Center will be the first of its kind in the East African region. I believe that the Center is going to be the model domestically and regionally. We expect that Kampala will become the leading City in the area of traffic control,” he added
Other projects in the country that have been spearheaded by the Japanese Government include the recently commissioned and famous Source of the Nile Bridge in Jinja, Metropolitan Transmission System Improvement Project, Interconnection of Electrical Grids of Nile Equatorial Lakes Countries Project, upgrading of Atiak – Nimule Road project among others.
On his part, Ambassador Kameda said traffic congestion in Kampala and its surrounding areas does not only make citizens’ everyday life difficult but also hurts the economy.
“Rapid population growth in Kampala as well as surrounding areas where 80% of the country’s industrial services are concentrated in this metropolitan area, no one doubts that the issue of traffic congestion in Kampala metropolitan area is a truly daunting task which Japan only can by no means assist in solving,” he said
KCCA acting Executive Director Eng. Andrew Kitata said that there will be restoration of Traffic lights at more than 30 junctions and there will be strong supervision using traffic control center that will be at City Hall.
“Traffic jam will be controlled at one Control Center at City Hall,” he added
Kitaka also noted that there will soon be introduction of Buses in the city and added that talks between bodaboda riders and taxi operators are underway to see how they can vacate the city for Buses.