Many years ago when I was studying Commerce in O’level, they told us that the two cheapest forms of transport were water and rail.
I am not aware if there have been a new major invention to change that.
Whatever great innovation Uganda’s transport policy makers may have come up with in the past few decades to change that old truth has not been publicized.
Therefore, at a time when we are being encouraged to produce more for export, a time when there is insatiable demand for our bulky agricultural produce, a time when we need to move so much cement for construction of infrastructure, it remains unclear why there is so little investment in rail and water transport, and so much more in the roads to the extent that the concerned departments simply fail to use the billions allocated to roads.
Right now, Uganda is gearing to construct what is billed to be the world’s most expensive road, the 50 kilometre section from Kampala to Entebbe at about $10million per kilometre.
The $500 million is being borrowed from China. So far the main justification the public has been given for the horrendous expenditure is that some people have been missing their flights at Entebbe airport.
Oba it would be cheaper for the roads authority to advise people who have flights to catch to leave Kampala a bit earlier, rather than putting another $500 million debt around our necks!
If Uganda has to borrow $500 million, shouldn’t it be for renovating and/or upgrading the railways? What do we see instead? No serious investment in the railway network. The other day, the Ugandan media publicized and praised the millions of dollars the Rift Valley rail company is putting into the network in Kenya.
They did not say what is being done on the Ugandan side. Maybe the Ugandans have actually found a way to make road transport cheaper, that is why it is enough to fix the rail in Kenya while Uganda pour half a billion dollars on 50 kilometres of road so that people with flights to catch can spend an extra hour in their comfortable beds in Kampala before getting to Entebbe!