KAMPALA-The rehabilitation and refurbishing of the Tororo-Mbale to Gulu Railway will start in July, the minister of works and transport has said.
Ms. Monica Azuba Ntege while presenting her docket’s progress report to the media on Thursday, May 16 said the government had already secured a loan and that all plans are underway to refurbish the railway line as one of the commitments of the presidents in his 2016-2021 manifesto.
“The Tororo-Mbale to Gulu railway line is set for refurbishing and rehabilitation as a deliberate move to rejuvenate the railways’ subsector, with the objective to relieve the heavy burden on the country’s road infrastructure,” said Ms. Azuba.
She said the government has already secured a grant of UGX88,751,427, 071 [€21 million] for repair Uganda’s 375km Tororo – Gulu line.
She explained that the money will fund the physical rehabilitation of the line, supervision of the works, capacity building of the Uganda Railway Corporation (URC) and the compensation of about 4,000 people for the loss of mainly their crops and a few developments on the land.
Ms. Azuba who put her sector’s average performance against the 2016-2021 NRM manifesto commitments at 60% said although they have secured a grant of €21M from European Union, they are looking for €23 Million [about UGX97,131, 165,767.40] to complete the works.
Mr. Waiswa Bageya, the Permanent secretary ministry of Works and Transport revealed that the agreement signed at the Ministry of Finance headquarters in Kampala will also see the Ugandan government inject in the rehabilitation project UGX57 billion.
He explained that the rehabilitation of the Tororo-Gulu railway is part of government’s efforts to modernize the railway system in the country especially after it terminated the operations of the Rift Valley Railways for failure to meet concessional terms.
He said that because of its proximity to the Albertine region, the railway project will benefit from transportation of equipment and inputs for the construction and operations of the oilfields given the bulky nature of oil equipment, which he said normally exceeds the standard size for road transport and therefore require special transport arrangements, making them natural customers for the railway.
He revealed that the project shall be implemented by Uganda Railways Corporation under the supervision of the Ministry of Works and Transport.
About Tororo-Mbale to Gulu Railway Line
The Tororo-Gulu railway line used to be a pivotal economic artery along the East African Northern Corridor linking the port of Mombasa and Eastern Uganda to Northern Uganda, as well as the neighbouring countries of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The line has been out of service since 1993 notably due to actions of war by the Lord’s Resistance Army and the unfair competition of overloaded trucks.
The 375km old meter gauge railway line from Tororo through goes through the districts of Mbale, Kumi, Soroti, Lira, and Gulu.