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Uganda Infrastructure Fund in Offing

Monday May 23, 2011

THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its local partners have selected Deloitte Consulting to undertake a sh840m crucial infrastructure feasibility study.
The programme is expected to scale up the road and rail network, David Eckerson, the USAID Uganda head of mission, said.

He explained over the weekend that the US-based team was already in Kampala to begin work on the study.
He said the Deloitte team will work closely with the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) on the study, whose report should be out by September.

“They (Deloitte) plan to submit a final report at the end of September. It will be shared with stakeholders at roundtable workshops,” said Eckerson.

It is not clear whether the USE approached USAID with the idea of using capital markets to mobilise funds for the projects that usually require large amounts of money.

Joseph Kitamirike, the USE chief executive officer, said the terms of reference to Deloitte include how to raise the infrastructure fund, and how to manage, what and when to fund.

“There will be a workshop to discuss with different audiences. If we agree, we will take it to the necessary forum,” said Kitamirike.

If the fund were to be established, it would come as a big relief and go a long way in boosting the country’s reliance on its own resources to fund critical projects.

It will also enhance the country’s competitiveness. Already, there is an energy fund that the Government will partly use to kick-start the Karuma power dam works.

President Yoweri Museveni has said one of the priorities of his new mandate will be to scale up the road and rail network.

The country badly needs to prop up infrastructure mainly roads and rail and the largely untapped water transport.
Eckerson said USAID helps with food aid security in vulnerable areas like the north and Karamoja.

The institution, he pointed out, was also planning to enhance capacity and infrastructure of the areas to help the people become self-sustaining.
This should be through roads and storage facilities, Eckerson noted.

that the US government was also supporting several projects that should ultimately take advantage of an improved road and railway network.

“We have several ongoing projects that aim to expand sustainable economic opportunities to improve rural livelihoods,” said Eckerson.

By David Mugabe : The New Vision Newpaper

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