RAILWAY PROJECT: UGANDA MINISTER TELLS MPS TO BACK OFF AS ITS A REGIONAL PROJECT

KAMPALA, Dec 13– The minister in charge of economic monitoring, Henry Banyenzaki, has asked Ugandan Parliament to back off the $8b (sh22 trillion) Standard gauge railway project (SGR), saying it is a regional project.

According to Banyenzaki, MPs cannot investigate the regional project.

“It is beyond Parliament. It is a project beyond our means in terms of its capacity and handling. We should chew what we can swallow,” said Banyenzaki.

He made the remarks while closing a three-day training on budget for LC3 chairpersons from different districts organised by Action for Development and Environment.

Early last month, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga named a seven-man team, chaired by Nakifuma MP, Sekitoleko Kafeero to investigate the controversy surrounding the standard gauge railway project.

The committee is examining circumstances that led to termination of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Government and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) for upgrading the railway line from Kampala to Malaba.

The Government later signed a MoU with a rival company called China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

Appearing before the probe committee on Thursday, works minister Abraham Byandala denied taking bribes from the companies that signed agreements with government.

He added that the conclusive agreement to construct the railway has not been sealed.

On the SGR cost, the minister said: “We have agreed on $6.69b for a track length of 1,129km. The railway is going to be electrical.”

He asserted that the country will never transform unless the railway is built.

SOURCE: NEW VISION

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