Friday May 19 2017

New Fort Portal road boosting trade, says district chairman

The ongoing works on Fort Portal-Kamwenge Road

The ongoing works on Fort Portal-Kamwenge Road by Chinese contractors, China Railway Seventh Group. Photo by Stephen Wandera 

By Stephen Wandera

FORT PORTAL. Contractors upgrading the 66-kilometre road from Kamwenge to Fort Portal, an access route aimed at boosting trade between western Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo through Bundibugyo District is to be completed in July.
According to Fort Portal District chairman, Richard Rwabuhinga, the road being constructed by China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG) at Shs120b is to increase development in the region.
“As the road construction is going on, there are hotels and accommodation places coming up and also craft business along the road. So certainly for us having this road complete is prayer answered. We look at the future with a lot of hope with fast economic development. We are grateful to Uganda government and China,” Mr Rwabuhinga said.

Speaking to journalists during a media tour of the project at the weekend, Mr Rwabuhinga said the company has done some good work although there are still some minor concerns of compensation.
“I hope as we hand over the road, government returns land titles for those compensated,” he noted, adding: “I am grateful for CRSG for compensation to quarry owners, providing water sources and also covering all holes they dug.”
Mr Rwabuhinga further estimated that about 98 per cent of the road has been completed.

When contacted, Fort Portal District natural resources officer, Godfrey Ruyonga, said the firm has met all environmental impact assessment guidelines set by government.
“All waste soils have been dump in pits, covered and vegetation restored. Water sources like Mpanga River have not been tempered with; noise and air pollution managed well. We have no issues with them as of now,” he said.
The CRSG public relations officer, Chen Hai, said the company has enjoyed the support from government, especially through the Uganda National Road Authority and the local communities.

Better business
Mr Didus Tumwesigye, a taxi driver operating between the two districts, said with the new road in place, he now uses less fuel and there is better business across the communities.
“We are now seeing money. I used to consume fuel worth Shs60,000 per route but now I only use Shs45,000. Passengers would pay Shs12,000 but now transport fare ranges between Shs10,000 to Shs8,000,” he said.