Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago says he was not briefed about the proposed Tondeka Metropolitan Bus project saying the loan to fund it is a surprise.
“We have gathered from media reports that Government plans to bankroll the entire project with a loan from Exim Bank to a tune of shs600 billion. I personally have no record to that effect and I have no official communication from any Government office,” said Lukwago.
Lukwago said is also surprised that the loan will be channeled to Tondeka through the Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) despite that the service running in the city.
“According to our budget for the financial year 2020/2021, the ceiling prepared for us by the Finance Ministry is shs285 billion. It comes as a surprise to us that there is a massive investment of shs600 billion that will be injected in a project that is alien to our budget framework paper,” Lukwago said.
The Lord Mayor raised the concerns while appearing before the Committee of Trade on the proposed project with buses from Ashok Leyland based in India.
Lukwago added that the project will create a mismatch with KCCA’s multi-modal transport plan that is to be e rolled out this year.
The Chairman Tondeka Bus Service, Peter Kimbowa while appearing before the Committee last year said that the company held consultative meetings with Ministries, government agencies and local governments on execution out of the project.
“When we organized a consultative meeting recently, we invited the Mayor who was represented by the Deputy Mayor. We believe in stakeholder management and dialogue to build a common line of site,” said Kimbowa.
Aruu County MP, Hon. Odonga Otto was concerned about the loan guarantee to the project which he said was being given to a private company rather than a Government agency like KCCA.
“A guarantee means that if all goes bad for this private sector investor, the guarantor (Government) will pay. The company is under the private sector so it should bring its buses and leave KCCA to build capacity for other private investors for bus terminals,” said Odonga Otto.
Hon. Robert Centenary (FDC, Kasese Municipality) said the government should guarantee its own agencies like KCCA to execute the project so as to protect the taxpayer.
“If Ashok Leyland is going to provide the buses and build the terminals, their memorandum of understanding must support knowledge and technological transfer and build local capacity to handle the project,” Centenary said.
Western Youth MP, Hon. Mwine Mpaka tasked the Tondeka to create employment for taxi drivers and touts in the available 15,000 jobs as indicated in the report presented to the Committee.