TORORO/GULU – The European Union has extended Euros 21.5 million (about Shs90 billion) to the Uganda government to enable it to revive the collapsed Tororo-Gulu railway line.
The over 400km railway line used to run from Tororo through the districts of Mbale, Kumi, Soroti, Lira and Gulu but it collapses about 10 years ago and has been non-functional.
But on Wednesday, the EU announced the grant and asked government to avail its contribution to enable the construction take off.
“The EU’s support to rehabilitate the Tororo-Gulu railway line is a grant amounting to more than 90 billion Uganda shillings, equivalent to EUR 21.5 million. Uganda on her side will provide 57 billion shillings (equivalent to Euros 13.1m),” said EU Head of Delegation to Uganda Attilio Pacifici at the signing of the signing of the grant agreement at the Ministry of Finance headquarters in Kampala yesterday.
Ambassador Pacifici emphasized that the money will ensure physical rehabilitation of the line, supervision, capacity building to the Uganda Railway Corporation, and the compensation of the people affected by the project.
He added that 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 before it closed in 1993 due to Lord Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency.
He added that the project is part of the EU’s efforts to help Uganda develop the north. He said it complements well the EU humanitarian assistance to refugees and the support to host communities provided under the EU Emergency Trust Fund in the north.
“With this project, the EU continues to support Uganda’s economy through the promotion of a multimodal, safe and efficient transport sector. We will in particular support the efforts of Government to shift cargo from roads to more environmentally friendly – or greener- transport modes such as railways and waterways,” he said.
“A key point to be mentioned is that this project has been designed to complement the construction of the Gulu Logistic Hub done in a partnership with the Government of Uganda and with DFID Trademark East Africa. These two projects will have a major impact on the facilitation of trade by reducing import and export transportation costs, thereby contributing to regional integration and to strengthen Uganda’s competitiveness within the EAC region,” he said.
On his part, the minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mr Matia Kasaija, explained that the Tororo-Gulu Metre Gauge Rehabilitation Project is very important for trade facilitation for Uganda as it will open up the northern parts of Uganda and parts of Congo and South Sudan.