Government of Uganda has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the China Road and Bridge Corporation, (CRBC) to rehabilitate the Tororo to Gulu section of the meter gauge railway line.
This comes days after the company completed the rehabilitation of the Malaba-Tororo stretch which is now operational.
The signing was presided over by Al-Hajji Abdallatiff Dhakaba Wangubo, the Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) board chairperson.
Wangubo expressed satisfaction with the quality and speed of the Chinese company in the completed phase.
He said, “Completing the task within the timeline will save the entity money and other resources, and the project will go a long way in boosting economic activity in the region and also protecting roads from overuse by trucks.”
The 375-kilometer railway line runs through Mbale, Soroti, and Lira before terminating at the Gulu Logistics Hub (GLH), bringing the total distance of the northern corridor so far to more than 700 kilometers.
The rehabilitation works for the Tororo – Gulu line are scheduled to last 24 months, but the contractor is given one more month to organize the needed materials, equipment, and manpower.
The URC acting managing director, David Bulega Musoke, urged the contractor to use the same commitment and complete the project within time, so as to realise the much-needed boost to business in the northern region.
The 199.9 billion-shilling project is fully funded by the government of Uganda, according to Wangubo, as part of the efforts to increase the stock and quality of strategic infrastructure to accelerate Uganda’s competitiveness and create integrated transport infrastructure and services in the country.
He called on the contractor to abide by the local content clauses in the contract. He said that this will help empower Ugandans economically by giving them business but also training them to be able to take on other projects or assignments with URC.
Dai Dexin, the country manager for CRBC, pledged that they will beat the deadline and could finish the project even before the said date.
This, he said, is because URC has been very supportive of all the company’s undertakings which had made it easy for them to accomplish the work accordingly.
“We will put emphasis on training domestic manpower as a way of transferring technology,” Dai said.
The works will feature drainage improvement, including the construction of new culverts and lining of side drains; earthworks; relocation of utilities, and rehabilitation of five steel girder bridges.
Others are railway track relaying works including ballasting, supply of new railway track materials, refurbishment of existing railway track materials, and construction of level crossings including signage.
Future plans include extending the line to Pakwach in West Nile.
In 2020, European firm Sogea Santon was contracted for the works funded by both the European Union (EU) and the government, but the contract last year ran into funding problems on the part of the government, leading to its termination.
The EU also terminated its grant contract with Uganda which was worth almost Sh100 billion.