State Minster for Planning in the Ministry of Finance, Hon David Bahati has said the newly approved tourism roads in Kigezi sub region will boost tourism and the economy.
Last week, cabinet approved Government’s request to borrow up to 68 million USD from African Development Bank to finance upgrading of the Kabale Lake Bunyonyi/Kisoro Mgahinga road, according to the announcement that was made by the Minister of Information and Communications Technology Judith Nabakooba.
Katuna-Kamuganguzi-Bufundi-Muko road that stretches the border of Uganda and Rwanda was also included in the budget.
Speaking to our reporter, Minister Bahati said that once the roads are finished, they will spark the growth of the tourism sector in the area, promote trade and help in the transportation of iron ore products.
“Kigezi has several tourist attractions that benefit the country, but this will be improved because transport will be quick than before. Secondly, people will use the roads to ferry their agricultural produce to different markets and lastly when the iron ore factory is set up in Rubanda district, transportation of iron ore produces will be made easier” Bahati said.
Herbert Byaruhanga, the Director of Bird Uganda Safaris, also the Secretary General of Uganda Safari Guides Association (USAGA) hailed government for considering to work on the tourism roads, saying tourists would spend long hours on the way due poor roads and that would end.
“Some tour operators had been hesitating to come to Kigezi due to poor roads especially in the rainy seasons. Those who would attempt to come would at times get stuck along the road at night, but that will end once roads are worked on.”
Byaruhanga added that the new roads would employ thousands of people in the region in the tourism sector.
“For instance people in Nkuringo, Rushaga and other areas are very poor yet they live around precious tourist attractions. But if roads are worked on, the tourism sector will improve, people there will sell crafts to tourists, many of them will join the sector because they will be nature tour guides” Byaruhanga said.
Kigezi sub region has 60 percent of Uganda’s tourist attractions. The region boasts the deepest lake in Uganda, Lake Bunyonyi, world famous mountain gorillas, Mount Muhabuura, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest among other tourist attractions.
Uganda earned $1.6b (about Shs5.8 trillion) from tourism in the 2018/2019 financial year, making the sector the country’s leading foreign currency earner for the fifth year in a row.
Uganda is set to construct an Iron Ore Smelting plant in Rubanda District in the Western Region of the country. The smelting plant project is estimated to cost US $200m. Devki Group of Companies won the contract to develop the plant.