JINJA – President Museveni on Wednesday commissioned the new Source of the Nile Bridge in Jinja District and urged government technocrats to invest in building a pool of engineers capable of building projects of such magnitude in the country in future.
Flanked by his wife Janet, the President said since over 90% of the 700 staff that worked on the high-tech cable bridge are Ugandans, the responsible ministry should form a partnership to use them for future projects.
“To boost such local content, there is a proposal I shared with the Chinese firm, Syno hydro who are constructing the Karuma Dam. The idea is that when Karuma Dam is finished, the equipment should not be discarded; instead, the locals should form a joint venture with Syno Hydro together with the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) and continue building the dams like the Chinese were doing,” he said, urging Parliament to ensure those going to manage such projects are well paid.
“These ones who worked on the new bridge can form a joint venture with the Japanese or South Koreans and be absorbed in a government company and help in the construction of dams, roads and other civil works,” the President added.
He also commended the Japanese government for providing funds for the project.
The Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Masahisa Sato, who was at the event, expressed joy at the new bridge.
“This project has been a success considering the fact that it has drawn many people. I last came to Uganda (Entebbe) in 2012 to witness Japanese peace-keeping mission and I am pleased that this ceremony has brought me back to Uganda, The Pearl of Africa,” Mr Sato said.
Transport Minister Monica Ntege Azuba, Tourism minister Godfrey Kiwanda and Investment State Minister Evelyn Anite were among the officials at the event.
The bridge is expected to promote the economic growth of Uganda and the East African countries through enhancing smoothness of transportation on the Northern Corridor.
The 525m-long bridge will as well ensure safety of the Northern Corridor Transportation System by relieving traffic loading from the deteriorating Nalubaale Dam/Bridge structure which was opened to traffic in 1954.
Costing about Shs411bn, the New Bridge was designed with a structural lifespan of 120 years and its picturesque location is expected to enhance tourism in the country.