• Hon. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Japan;
• The President of JICA;
• Your Excellency the Ambassador of Japan to Uganda;
• Your Excellency the Ambassador of South Korea to Uganda;
• Hon. Ministers;
• Members of Parliament;
• The LCV Chairmen;
• Resident District Commissioners;
• Distinguished Guests;
• Ladies and Gentlemen.
I wish to welcome the Hon. Mahahisa SATO, State Minister for Foreign Affairs-Japan and his delegation to Uganda and to this ceremony for Commissioning the Source of the Nile Bridge. This ceremony is a manifestation of NRM Government’s success of the partnership between the Governments of Uganda and Japan.
The Government of Japan has been a close partner for the last 56 and during this time, we have received over US$ 1.22 billion. Uganda’s exports to Japan include; Coffee, Tea, Oil Seeds and Fish. Uganda’s Imports from Japan include; Vehicles, Iron and Steel, Machinery and Mechanical appliances.
Japan, through its Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), has, in addition to this bridge, financed the following Projects under various sectors;
1. The Project for Improvement of Gulu Municipal Council Roads in Northern Uganda;
2. The upgrading of Atiak-Nimule Roads Project;
3. The Northern Uganda Farmers Livelihood Improvement Project;
4. Interconnection of Electric Grids of the Nile Equatorial Lakes Countries Project;
5. Kampala Flyover Construction and Road Upgrading Project, (whose contract has been signed) etc.
I have been informed that out of the 760 staff at the peak of construction, 90.5% of Contractors’ staff were; Ugandan Engineers, technicians, craftsmen and laborers. Out of 33 staff of the Supervising Consultant, 67% were Ugandan Engineers and Works Inspectors, 80% of reinforcement steel for high performance concrete was sourced locally in Uganda.
I am happy to note that the Project has been completed within the cost and budget and almost within the planned timeframe (i.e. in 48 months which ended in April, 2018). I want to thank the Contractors, Consultants and the Project Management Team for working together to complete this Project.
Road transport carries about 90% of the country’s goods and passenger traffic. The road safety situation in Uganda has deteriorated rapidly over the last years, mainly due to the growing vehicle population and the lack of appropriate road safety interventions from the regulatory authorities. Additionally, over 90 percent of the vehicles imported in Uganda are second hand and there is no clear mechanism to inspect vehicles on a regular basis. The high number of road accidents in major urban areas is also due to the rapid increase in the use of commercial motorcycles-boda-bodas. The improved Bridge, with dual carriage way, will significantly improve road safety in the country. We shall encourage cyclists and boda-boda to use the old bridge to avoid congestion and confusion on this new facility.
I wish to thank the Minister of Works and Transport and her team for the supervisory role they have played in the construction of this bridge.
I wish to thank the Executive Director of UNRA and her team for the technical support they have rendered to the project. I also thank the Contractor and Consultant for the job well done.
It is now my honour to declare the Source of the Nile Bridge Commissioned.
I thank you all.