The much anticipated construction of the Kigumba-Hoima-Kabwoya road is delayed by contract disputes, Bunyoro Affairs Minister Ernest Kiiza has said.
Government recently secured funding from the African Development Bank (ADB) to upgrade the 138 Kilometer stretch from gravel to Bitumen standards. Uganda National Roads Authority says that the gravel road will be upgraded to Class II paved road standard with a carriageway width of 6 meters and 15 meter road reserve.
The road is part of the 238 kilometer Kyenjojo, Hoima, Masindi, Kigumba road. The route provides a strategic link between the Northern Corridor (specifically south western Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and eastern DRC) and the Kampala-Gulu-Juba corridor. Government also anticipates that the road, once complete, will support expected increase in traffic related to oil exploration and production in the Albertine Graben.
Although work was expected to commence at the start of this financial year, Minister Ernest Kiiza says the works have been delayed by contract disputes. Speaking to this paper in Hoima over the weekend, the Minister revealed that the procurement process was successfully done, but bidders were dissatisfied and applied for an administrative review.
Kiiza reveals however that once an administrative review is done, works would kick off immediately. The minister was reacting to speculation that government had diverted funds for the construction of the road which was estimated to cost USD 135million.
The Minister however remained non-committal on the number of bidders who applied for task and when the contracts review process would be complete. The minister instead reaffirmed government’s commitment to have the 100kilometer stretch from Kabwoya-Kyenjojo also upgraded to bitumen, saying funding has also been secured from World Bank.
Speculation about the road funds being diverted had angered several in Bunyoro. Ali Babi, a Hoima businessman and former Hoima district councilor had threatened a protest match to Kampala to show dissatisfaction with government over the same. The NRM adherent led a protest match to Kampala in 2006 to demand for the upgrading of the Hoima-Busunju-Kampala road.