The Minister of State for Works and Transport Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala has revealed that very soon, users of the Kampala – Entebbe expressway will begin paying for the road as Ugandan National Roads Authority (UNRA) puts up a bid for a private contractor.
“UNRA has put up bid for the contractor, we are going to have a private contractor who is going to run the tolling,” Katumba told reporters in Kampala on Wednesday.
On how much will be charged by every user, Katumba said this will depend on the contract; reaffirming however, that Ugandans will not be overcharged.
The minister also revealed that the old Entebbe road will be improved for users who will not be able to afford the express way.
“If you don’t get to go on express way, don’t be offended, you can still get to Entebbe using old road”
Speaking the delayed works on the Jinja express way, the Minister said government is seeking the cheapest and most convenient way for the project to be handled.
“We don’t want to come up with a project or a road or a facility which will end up being expensive to the road user. In everything we do, we want the road to be affordable. Otherwise it will be useless to put a very good facility, 8 lanes which cannot be used by anybody because of the price,” he said
Meanwhile, on the issue of standard gauge railway (SGR)which is not being constructed, Katumba assured Ugandans that SGR will come but added that a number issues must be put into consideration such as getting a right of way.
However, he noted that the money which was put up to acquire the right of way is not good enough to compensate all the project affected persons and get a substantial distance for the contractor to begin work.
He said this is because unlike other projects where a contractor can begin work and in the process takes a break, once SGR begins it cannot stop.
This was reflected in the northern bypass construction project where the contractor in many areas jumped where to construct over issues of compensation to get right of way.
“On standard gauge railway that cannot work. It has to be continuous,”
Katumba also said that they are looking for the money to pay project affected persons as ministry of finance works out the funding arrangement with the funders.
He said contractors are already known and now await the funding mechanism.