Syda Namirembe Bbumba, the head of the committee that compiled report

The committee on national economy has recommended that Parliament reconsider the approval of government to borrow Shs 172.165 billion from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to complete the construction of the new Nile Bridge in Jinja.

According to a report submitted by Nakaseke North County legislator Syda Bbumba Namirembe, in 2O11, Parliament approved concessional financing of Shs 315 billion (JPY 9.198 billion) from JICA for the construction of the bridge that commenced in 2013, but currently only 67 per cent of the money has been disbursed.

However, the report notes that due to substantially higher costs than initial expectation posted by the contractor along with the significant depreciation of the Japanese Yen, the share of financial cost between JICA and government was substantially affected.

But the 35- member committee says the loan will increase the country’s total nominal public debt that is currently at US$ 8.6 billion as by the end of June 2016.

Basing on observations, the committee recommended that UNRA expedites works at the new bridge to exhaust the existing loan disbursements before end of FY 2017/18; and to pave way for additional financing that it required to complete the construction.

‘UNRA should establish a clearance system for government project goods to reduce delays in implementation of projects…’ reads in part of the report.

The MPs also said that Government should develop a strategy on how the commercial aspects of the New Bridge will be managed to include revenue sharing among local governments (in Jinja and Buikwe) and central government from tourism receipts.