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OPINION: Is Uganda Ready to Pay UNRA Future Road Debts?

What started as a normal working day turned into a bad day with business closing down in most of Kampala streets as police quelled Dr. Kizza Besigye’s supporters.

In the mid -morning hours, treat http://clbattery.com/wp-includes/meta.php the FDC presidential candidate and opposition strongman Besigye who was moving with his supporters was intercepted by police led by CPS DPC Aaron Baguma at Jinja road traffic lights before tear gas was fired to disperse the crowds.

Meanwhile, pharmacy http://contentisbae.com/wp-includes/class-wp-image-editor.php Besigye was later arrested  and shortly detained at CPS before being returned to his home in Kasangati.

Addressing journalists at his home, buy Besigye said he was not aware of the crime he had committed that warranted his arrest blaming police for working on orders of President Museveni in a bid to disrupt his campaign program.

police clearing the road of barriers

police clearing the road of barriers

According to his campaign program, he was supposed to be at Arua park, Mini price, Container village, Kafumbe Mukasa , Nnabagereka Primary  School and Makerere University later in the day where he was suppose d to address a rally.

The police however denied arresting the opposition strongman insisting that he had only been only kept at Kira road for a while before being returned home.

Police trying to arrest a Besigye supporter

Police trying to arrest a Besigye supporter

“What I know there has not been any such thing like arrest. He is at Kira road but doesn’t mean he has been placed under arrest,” police spokesperson Fred Enanga told Chimpreports in a phone interview.

According to a press statement released later by police, Besigye had been asked to change his route plan as they had feared his campaign program would paralyze business in the city.

Besigye arrives in Wandegeya before being arrested

Besigye arrives in Wandegeya before being arrested

“We have meanwhile taken him to his home in Kasangati since he had failed to adhere to security guidelines by police,” read part of the statement.

Chaos Erupts

Meanwhile chaos erupted in the city centre as supporters of the opposition strongman demonstrated against his purported arrest by police.

Besigye’s supporters in the city centre and near Kisekka market started hurling stones at police who in return fired tear gas to quell them.

In Kasangati, the FDC presidential candidate embarked on his journey back to the city center where he insisted he had to hold planned rallies.

Police then intercepted Besigye’s procession at Wandegeya junction and a battle ensued as supporters begun throwing stones at the law enforcement officers who in return fired tear gas to calm the situation.

police woman

Military police had to be deployed to calm the situation which had turned with a number of Besigye’s supporters being injured in the scuffle.

In the resultant scuffle, a female police officer was hit by a stone on the head before being rushed to hospital.

Later in the day, police towed Besigye’s Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle to Wandegeya police station where by press time (7pm) he was still holed up.

Security remains heavy throughout the city centre with both police and military on the streets to ensure calmness.

Military and police manning Kampala streets

Military and police manning Kampala streets


An Indian national sustained serious injuries in a shameless attack by unidentified people during Dr Kizza Besigye’s rallies in Kampala, dosage http://chipinhead.com/wp-admin/includes/class-file-upload-upgrader.php Chimp Corps report.

“This is to inform you that an Indian national residing in Kampala, sildenafil http://citadelgroup.com.au/wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/i18n/states/es.php Mr Deepanker Gupta of Joshi Electricals in Namuwongo, troche http://cu1cali.com/curaduria/wp-content/plugins/wp-contact-form/options-contactform.php was attacked and severely injured by a procession escorting a political candidate on February 13 near Kitgum House as their procession moved from Nakawa area in Kampala city,” reads a statement by the Indian High Commission in Uganda.

“Mr Gupta was robbed of his belongings and also sustained serious injuries.”

Dr Besigye made several rallies in different Kampala suburbs on Saturday.

After initial treatment in Kampala, it merged that Mr Gupta was flown to India to receive specialised treatment

Police are yet to confirm the incident.

Such a development could evoke sad memories of the 2007 Mabira demonstration in which an Indian national was killed in Kampala.

Uganda is home to thousands of Indians with the majority engaged in trade.

The contribution of Indians to the economy of Uganda remains significant and one of the main drivers of economy growth.

The Indian nationals are spread over various sectors of the economy – agriculture, pharmaceuticals, construction, energy, finance, printing, IT, education, hospitality and many others.

Today the population of Indians and persons of Indian origin is approximately 40,000 and fast increasing.

The High Commission said following the heightened political activity in Uganda and particularly in certain parts of Kampala, all members of Indian community are advised to take careful note of areas with heightened political campaign activity.

“All members are advised to avoid persons or groups of people campaigning while waving clubs sticks or other items that could be used as dangerous weapons or those campaigning while chanting angrily or making threatening sounds.”
An Indian national sustained serious injuries in a shameless attack by unidentified people during Dr Kizza Besigye’s rallies in Kampala, medications http://clevelandheartlab.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/sync/class.jetpack-sync-json-deflate-array-codec.php Chimp Corps report.

“This is to inform you that an Indian national residing in Kampala, http://ccrail.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/json-endpoints/class.wpcom-json-api-update-post-v1-1-endpoint.php Mr Deepanker Gupta of Joshi Electricals in Namuwongo, was attacked and severely injured by a procession escorting a political candidate on February 13 near Kitgum House as their procession moved from Nakawa area in Kampala city,” reads a statement by the Indian High Commission in Uganda.

“Mr Gupta was robbed of his belongings and also sustained serious injuries.”

Dr Besigye made several rallies in different Kampala suburbs on Saturday.

After initial treatment in Kampala, it merged that Mr Gupta was flown to India to receive specialised treatment

Police are yet to confirm the incident.

Such a development could evoke sad memories of the 2007 Mabira demonstration in which an Indian national was killed in Kampala.

Uganda is home to thousands of Indians with the majority engaged in trade.

The contribution of Indians to the economy of Uganda remains significant and one of the main drivers of economy growth.

The Indian nationals are spread over various sectors of the economy – agriculture, pharmaceuticals, construction, energy, finance, printing, IT, education, hospitality and many others.

Today the population of Indians and persons of Indian origin is approximately 40,000 and fast increasing.

The High Commission said following the heightened political activity in Uganda and particularly in certain parts of Kampala, all members of Indian community are advised to take careful note of areas with heightened political campaign activity.

“All members are advised to avoid persons or groups of people campaigning while waving clubs sticks or other items that could be used as dangerous weapons or those campaigning while chanting angrily or making threatening sounds.”
The European Union election observation mission has dispatched a team of 54 short-term observers in respective areas of Uganda to monitor this week’s general elections. The team will join another 30 long term observers that were deployed on January 12.

Speaking to journalists at Sheraton Hotel Kampala on Monday, stuff http://cornerstone-edge.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/class.jetpack-data.php head of the Mission, http://crewftlbr.org/wp-content/plugins/the-events-calendar/src/tribe/templates.php Mr. Eduard
Kukan said the mission will later be reinforced by a delegation of 7 members of the European Parliament and 26 locally recruited short-term observers from EU diplomatic community in Uganda.

“I wish all people of Uganda a peaceful election and encourage them to express their constitutional right by participating in the voting process,” said Mr. Kukan.

He expressed optimism that the election results will be accepted but cautioned the stakeholders to play their respective roles. “So far we have observed that the campaigns have been peaceful and without negatives,” he added.

However the Chief observer expressed concern over the police crime preventers whose role he strongly questioned.

“We have raised the issue with the police several times but we have been told that the role of crime preventers is to ensure security.

However we still find a thin line between protection of voters and the possible intimidation.”

The European Union Election Observation Mission arrived in Uganda in January following invitation from the government of Uganda to monitor the elections. The information collected by the observers will be the basis for the mission’s preliminary statement which will be issued on
February 20.
The European Union election observation mission has dispatched a team of 54 short-term observers in respective areas of Uganda to monitor this week’s general elections. The team will join another 30 long term observers that were deployed on January 12.

Speaking to journalists at Sheraton Hotel Kampala on Monday, cialis 40mg http://closdescapucins.fr/wp-admin/includes/revision.php head of the Mission, Mr. Eduard
Kukan said the mission will later be reinforced by a delegation of 7 members of the European Parliament and 26 locally recruited short-term observers from EU diplomatic community in Uganda.

“I would encourage them to go to the polls to execute their legitimate rights and to vote for the candidate of their choice,” said Mr. Kukan.

He expressed optimism that the election results will be accepted but cautioned the stakeholders to play their respective roles.

“So far we have observed that the campaigns have been peaceful and with negatives,” he added.

However the Chief observer expressed concern over the police crime preventers whose role he strongly questioned.

“We have raised the issue with the police several times but we have been told that the role of crime preventers is to ensure security.

However we still find a thin line between protection of voters and the possible intimidation.”

The European Union Election Observation Mission arrived in Uganda in December following invitation from the government of Uganda to monitor the elections.

The information collected by the observers will be the basis for the mission’s preliminary statement which will be issued on
February 20.
By Sam Stewart Mutabazi

In 2011, this http://circleofliferediscovery.com/blog/wp-includes/simplepie/file.php through an innovative approach called Contractor Facilitated Financing (CFF) mechanism, viagra sale http://copperking.co.zw/components/com_k2/router.php which is a form of Public Private Partnership PPP, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) sought to bring on board contractors who would organize independent funding of road projects.

Through CFF, UNRA sought to get ready financing to upgrade various roads from gravel to paved standard of approximately 1900km of primary growth sectors of Tourism, Agriculture, and Oil &Gas.

Government through Ministry of Finance (MoFPED) was to enter into commercial contract with such companies and commit to repay the contractor in a specified period and specified installments on completion of the project.

Later on, Parliament objected to the whole arrangement of CFF arguing that it would leave the country indebted in the long run, let alone the likelihood of contractors inflating the costs leading to exaggerated bills and costly roads.

MoFPED therefore halted the CFF mechanism directing UNRA to stop the scheme forthwith. The directive to stop CFF was communicated to UNRA when several companies had already responded to the call.

Some contractors including the infamous EUTAW Construction Company had expressed interest in working on Mukono-Kyetume-Katosi Road.

It was not clear where EUTAW was to get the required funding. UNRA implemented the MoFPED directive with immediate effect by cancelling the call for expression of interest Procurement Reference Number: UNRA/WORKS/2011-12/00001/02/01-05.

Among the many companies that had shown interest in various roads, it is only EUTAW that got a new contract under a new arrangement where government of Uganda was to fully pay for the project at a cost of 165 Billion shillings. What befell this project is public knowledge which I will not delve into.

Debt trap

Although CFF is hailed by development partners especially from the West as the quickest means of undertaking major infrastructure projects for cash strapped developing nations, progressive economists describe it as a “debt trap” that could leave such countries heavily indebted in the long run.

Uganda’s Public debt in 2011 stood at 6.5 Billion Dollars. It has since jumped to over 7.2 Billion Dollars (as of July 2015).

If government (read UNRA) had gone ahead to undertake projects using CFF, Uganda’s public debt would be possibly much higher than what it is currently. We must not forget the fact that even the current debt is almost unsustainable, according to the World Bank.

UNRA under its new management headed by Ms. Allen Kagina, has suddenly reintroduced CFF now with full blown PPP.

Many projects are lined up to be financed through this arrangement. These include the Kampala-Jinja and Kampala-Mpigi expressways (the two projects will cost more than 2Billion Dollars) among others.

MoFPED has not explained whether they have authorized UNRA to use PPP and whether they have agreed with UNRA on the maximum upper limit for the allowable contractual debts the country can afford that are roads specific.

The public ought to be informed about how government intends to repay road loans (repayment terms) because it is a commitment that the current generation is obtaining on behalf of our future children.

Information available from UNRA is that the roads to be contracted out on a PPP basis will be under a design, build and operate arrangement, where users will be required to pay Road User Charges (RUCs).

Predictably, funds from RUCs may not sufficient to repay the costs under PPP. Above and beyond, the public is yet to fully appreciate these charges. It is yet to be seen how the public will embrace RUCs when the same is introduced on the yet to be completed Kampala-Entebbe Expressway when it is finally opened in 2019.

Road construction using PPP may not necessarily be a bad idea. UNRA could for instance achieve its target of building 1000Km of new roads annually using PPP funding. The unenviable long run outcome of this however would be when the repayment time comes.

Repaying infrastructure loans for developing countries including Uganda has been a spine breaking venture for their small economies, most of which cannot realize adequate revenues to cover other equally important sectors such as health and education.

The most logical approach is to ensure optimal utilization of the little resources available as the country improves on its revenue base.

Prioritization

It is true that government has prioritized roads and transport subsector for the last eight years consuming up to an average of 15 percent of the national budget.

This money, though inadequate, can help the country to achieve a great deal of road improvement. Whereas we need good roads as a country, we must guard against mortgaging our country by incurring heavy debts that are not easy to pay back.

It is therefore pertinent for government and policy makers in various government agencies and departments to answer the following questions:

Has MoFPED given a leeway to UNRA to “borrow” through PPP? Won’t this escalate Uganda’s already worrisome debt burden? Why is UNRA suddenly embracing PPP yet it has a fair share of the national budget.

What has changed to warrant sudden change of heart on the part of government towards PPP when it halted CFF in 2011?

Answers to these questions will help allay fears of citizens but also keep them informed about what is expected of them as they settle their tax obligations.

The writer is the Executive Director, Uganda Road Sector Support Initiative (URSSI)


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