Uganda to Renegotiate Inland Port Financing Deal with Lenders

The Ministry of Works and Transport of Uganda has asked the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development to renegotiate a deal with lenders of the Bukasa inland port on Lake Victoria, in order to save the project that has stalled at dredging, swamp removal, and reclamation stages.

Uganda wants African firms to be allowed to compete for the $229 million project, which is considered more affordable than one built by Belgian firms.

Despite placing three calls for Belgian firms to develop the port, their offer price exceeded what we had planned to spend on it, said Rosemary Tibiwa, Uganda’s Commissioner for Transport Services.

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The latest bid was published in the Brussels Times on October 20, 2021. There were two valid offers from Belgian companies specializing in dredging works, but their prices exceeded Uganda’s Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets regulation ceiling.

According to the firms, the equipment needed in the port is expensive.

Once completed, Bukasa port, which is part of the EAC’s Inland Waterway Transport Infrastructure Development Project, is expected to handle up to 5.2 million tonnes of freight annually, easing the movement of goods between the Tanzanian ports of Dar es Salaam and Tanga, via rail, to the Mwanza port on Lake Victoria.

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As a result, Uganda would not be as dependent on the port of Mombasa, Kenya, since the cargo would be transported to Bukasa by barge.

According to a German company that did the consulting, GAUF Engineering Company, the first phase of construction was to begin in June 2019.

The second phase was to begin immediately and be complete by April 2022, including the infrastructure, administration unit, and shipping facilities.

As part of phase three, a multipurpose terminal and Foreign Trade Zones and shipyards were to be built by 2030.

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