MPs grill Ministers of Finance, Education over delayed construction works of Akii-Bua and Buhinga Stadia
The Education Committee of Parliament has grilled the Ministers of Finance and that of Education and Sports over delayed financing of construction works for Akii-Bua and Buhinga Stadia in Lira and Kabarole districts.
The Minister of State for Planning Amos Lugoloobi, and that of State for Sports Denis Hamson Obua appeared before the Committee which is inquiring into the government’s failure to utilize the grant that was provided by the People’s Republic of China to construct the regional stadia.
The projects of Buhinga Stadium and Akii-Bua Olympic Stadium are presidential pledges of September 29 2012 and March 18, 2010, respectively.
They were also discussed by Cabinet under the Ministry of Education to be financed under the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) for the period 2019-2021 but information before the Committee indicates that their financing has been since dropped.
Buhinga Stadium is proposed to be a 26,000 seater at a cost of US Dollars 64.9million while Akii-Bua Olympic Stadium 30,000 seaters and will cost US Dollars 48 million.
While appearing before the committee on Tuesday, Minister Obua told legislators that President Museveni and the President of China had discussed at the 2018 FOCAC Summit in Beijing and approved the two stadia projects to be funded as priority projects, as a grant, under the initiative for Capacity Building.
He however added that the projects have multi-sectoral implementation partners including the Local Governments of Kabarole and Lira that had to secure and provide adequate land, the Ministry of Education and Sports to ensure land is appropriate and conduct feasibility, and concept designs studies, and others.
The other project partners are the Ministry of Finance which had to process the financing agreements with China and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that had to undertake diplomatic coordination between Uganda and China in the implementation of the projects.
Obua told MPs that land for the projects has been secured and that the Ministry of Education and Sports contracted two consultancies to conduct feasibility studies and detailed proposals for the Stadia.
The Ministry of Education and Sports has also concluded the process of conducting the feasibility studies and detailed proposals for the two stadia and secured the relevant study reports which were submitted to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance on 25th May 2021.
On the other hand, Lugoloobi told MPs that further consultations were held on the projects to be financed by the Chinese authorities under FOCAC and on 21st January 2021, the Government of Uganda officially submitted its prioritized projects for inclusion into the Uganda-China Pool of Projects and consideration for financing under the FOCAC cycle of 2019-2021.
“However, in a letter dated 21st August 2021, the Chinese authorities informed us that the Ugandan pool of projects had been revised and some projects had been dropped, following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Lugoloobi.
Lugoloobi said that all these projects that were dropped would be prioritized in the next cycle of programming for the period 2021- 2023.