Monday February 11 2013

Government to construct Shs486 billion Kampala port

By Nelson Wesonga

The government is to spend $180 million (Shs486 billion) on the construction of the new Kampala Port at Bukasa in Wakiso District.

Mr Cypriano Okello, the deputy project coordinator, yesterday said the government would acquire 500 hectares of land for the port in May.

Mr Okello said they had settled in on Bukasa because it had enough space, even for future expansion. “Port Bell’s capacity is one million tonnes annually. The New Kampala Port’s capacity will be eight million tonnes per year. It will also have railway and road connection to the Namanve Industrial Park,” he said. However, some residents called for more consultative meetings before the project kicks off. “The people you see here [Kampala] are not even 20 per cent of the residents of Bukasa. The rest are in Bukasa. The chairperson of the Uganda Land Commission is not here,” Mr Tom Ojore, a lawyer and resident of Bukasa, yesterday told a meeting in Kampala.

Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, the Kyadondo East MP, who had led some of his constituents to the venue, later walked away after police told him to listen to the government officials first. “I came to the meeting to meet the permanent secretary and the minister [works and transport],” Mr Ssemujju said before a police officer told him to calm down to allow the officials to speak first.

Land owners
At least 118 land owners could be affected by the project.

The deputy project coordinator said the affected land owners would be compensated. “We need the land, but cooperate. You will be compensated because the government has zeroed on Bukasa. The government is in final stages of taking a contractor to the site,” Mr Okello said. The project, which will connect Uganda to Tanzanian port in Dar-es-Salaam, is being touted as a strategic alternative to the Kampala-Mombasa route.

The Minister for Finance, Ms Maria Kiwanuka, said Tanzania had agreed to passing Uganda’s cargo through Dar-es-Salaam within seven days of arrival. Mr Okello said the process will involve constructing a 668-kilometre standard gauge, a 1.4–metre line from Arusha, bypassing the Serengeti National Park to Musoma and then to Kampala.