Parliament to Consider Loan Requests Worth US$ 260 Million

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In short
Parliament is expected to debate five loan requests worth 260.29 million dollars, approximately 954 billion shillings, as house resumes from recess on Tuesday, January 9.

Parliament is expected to debate five loan requests worth 260.29 million dollars, approximately 954 billion shillings, as house resumes from recess on Tuesday, January 9.

Parliament went on recess on December 20 after passing the Constitutional (Amendment) act 2017 which, among others, removed the presidential age limits, restored term limits and extended the term of office of parliament and local councils to seven years. 

It is set to resume with a number of pending issues among which are loan requests majorly for infrastructural development. There are five requests that are currently before the committee on National economy.

These include a proposal by the Government to borrow up to 44 million dollars from the French Agency for Development and 42 million dollars from the German Development Bank to finance the Mbarara-Masaka power transmission line project. 

Others that are also under consideration are, requests to borrow 125.1 million dollars from the Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA) to finance the Kampala Metropolitan power transmission system improvement project, and request by the Government to borrow 49.19 million dollars from JICA for the completion of the of construction works for the new bridge across River Nile in Jinja. The old bridge, built in early 1950's is nearing it's sell-by date.

The list of loan requests also has 13.79 million dollars to be borrowed from the Islamic Development Bank to enhance the learning environment at Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU). 

Another is a request by Government to increase the share of capital of Housing Finance Bank by 30 billion shillings.

Professor Morris Ogenga Latigo, the Agago North MP, says legislators will debate and ensure the loans are worth. He, however, condemned Government's decision to borrow year-in-year out stating that this breeds corruption. Latigo says because of borrowing, the revenues collected internally are not used.

"When you look at what we collect from within, it can be enough to run a lot of projects in the country, but whenever we want to do anything, we rush to borrow," he said.

Soroti Woman MP Angelline Osegge, twho is also Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), says not all funds borrowed by the Government have been used already. He says the Government is heaping a lot of burden on Ugandans.

"They are putting a bigger burden on Ugandans. If the loans had a visible impact, we would have no issue with it. However, for now the country is crumbling under the weight of numerous loans. The problem is that colleagues may rush to approve it," she says.

Uganda's external and domestic debt last year  hit 11.2 billion dollars, according to a Bank of Uganda State of the Economy report.

The report said provisional total public debt stock (at nominal value) as at the end May 2017 stood at 34 trillion shillings, an increase of 14.1 per cent relative to June 2016 and 16.7 per cent in the same period a year ago.

It comprises of 21.1 trillion shillings or $5.7 billion in external debt, commanding a dominant share of 62.4 per cent of the total public debt, and 12.7 trillion shillings in domestic debt.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.