Kampala – As Uganda moves to strengthen their bilateral relations with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a section of the public (taxpayers) have doubled-down on the construction of roads in another territory.
Works and Transport minister Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, has explained that the 223km road venture in DRC will spur Uganda’s trade opportunities.
Katumba on Tuesday while addressing journalists at Media Centre in Kampala emphasised that the road construction through the major towns in eastern DRC will act as a trade enabler.
He dismissed claims as untrue, assertions by a cross-section of the public, that the venture was a wastage of the Uganda taxpayer money.
“Uganda has been on a growth path. By 1986, we used to import almost everything, including bread. But now, we are exporting. Our industries are developing, so we must find market. We need to help manufacturers to move their goods faster,” said Katumba.
The joint venture with DRC is estimated to cost $334.5m in total, with Uganda contributing $66.9m.
Last week, Cabinet endorsed the venture, for work on the 80km road from Kasindi section on the Uganda border to Beni, on the eastern border of DR Congo.
Additionally, the initiative entails the integration of the Kasindi border section to Beni-Butembo Axis (54km) to National Road and the Bunagana Road on the border, as well as Ruchuru-Goma Road (89km).
At the November 2019 Joint Business Forum conducted in Kampala, President Yoweri Museveni and DRC counterpart Felix Tshisekedi signed an agreement to bolster trade.
Key agreeables in the cooperation structure is joint construction of a number of border roads to promote bilateral trade, investment and connectivity between the two countries.
Museveni expressed optimism, saying the two countries would build stronger ties by building roads and bridges connecting the two countries.