Sports Minister Hamson Denis Obua hopes the Chinese economy recovers in time to finance the construction of two stadium projects. According to Obua, Buhinga Stadium in Fort Portal and Akii Bua Olympic stadium in Lira are being constructed with financing from the Chinese government.
China owns about 20 per cent of Uganda’s debt, equivalent to about $1.6b and has been a key player in infrastructure development.
“Our relations with China are very key to completing the works on Akii Bua and Buhinga stadiums,” Obua said in an interview.
The Ministry of Education and Sports received no funds for the Akii Bua Stadium works in the 2019/20 financial year, which prompted the ministry to apply for funding from the People’s Republic of China under a grant and interest-free loan.
Alex Kakooza, the ministry of Education permanent secretary noted in 2019 that low funding from the Ministry of finance could not deliver a stadium.
Only $176,000 had been allocated for stadium works for opening the boundaries of the land, clearing and levelling the field of 18.6 acres, construction of access roads and drainage channels. Obua says that completing the works is all reliant on the Chinese government.
“But we know they are facing challenges after the Covid-19 pandemic which will definitely affect their funding activities,” Obua said.
For Buhinga’s Shs6b project, initial activities have been reliant on Chinese funding too.
Some Progress. There are concerns regarding the bills of quantities, as well as feasibility studies although some progress is being made at the stadium that is expected to accommodate 25,500. On completion, it will have a football pitch, netball and volleyball courts, offices, dressing rooms, two gymnasiums, a clinic, shops among other facilities. “I cannot say with certainty when these facilities can be available but it becomes tricky with our main funders dealing with a bigger issue,” Obua stated. Rehabilitation works on Mandela National Stadium Namboole, are also expected to be funded by the Chinese government. It was opened in 1997.