Gulu Logistic Hub, a trade facilitation infrastructure being established in Northern Uganda to boost both domestic and regional trade, is set to come to a grinding halt if the government doesn’t quickly secure an adjacent 2.4 kilometre access road, upon which the continued construction of the distribution facility heavily depends, Daily Monitor can reveal.
The first phase of the $8.5million (slightly more than Shs30billion) multi-modal Gulu Logistic Hub is expected to be concluded in September—the next four months.
However, without the $3.3million (about Shs12billion) access road, which is just next to the 24 acres land, the project timelines is set to be interrupted until the strategically placed stretch of land is secured by the Ministry of Works and handed to the contractors.
Already the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom`s Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office through Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) have fulfilled their part of the bargain after making available $8.5million for the construction of the regional logistic hub. Once completed, the logistic hub will ease trade between Uganda and South Sudan as well Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), two of the country’s biggest export destinations.
And should the project delay because of the failure to secure the access road in time, Daily Monitor has learnt that it will be particularly disappointing, given that part of the deal included the government coming clean on its promise to secure, compensate and construct the access road, without which establishment of power lines and the facility’s drainage system will be difficult if not impossible to put up.
During the assessment tour of Gulu Logistic Hub last week by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the funders’ representatives, the Head of Corporate Planning at Uganda Railway Corporation, Mr Richard Businge, noted that Ministry of Works is aware of the consequences that could emanate from the delay to securer the 2.4 stretch of land.
As a result of that, the ministry will in the new financial year, just a month or so away, provide the necessary funding for compensation and construction of the 2.4 access road.
Acting Country Director of TMEA-Uganda, Ms Damali Ssali described the delay to secure the access road as a concern. However she remains optimistic, saying government will come clean on its part of the bargain.
As for the URA Commissioner General, Mr John Musinguzi, the facility’s 65 per cent progress so far registered is an impressive feat. Once it is operational, he says there is no doubt that the trade facilitation infrastructure will boost revenue collection. For that, the tax body is entirely supportive of the Gulu Logistic Hub.
And as the lead agency in charge of the trade logistic hub, he promised to engage the Ministry of Works as soon as possible with a view to have them compensate, secure and expedite the construction of the access point.
Once completed in September this year, provided government secures the access road in good time, the Gulu Logistics Hub is expected to reduce regional trade barriers such as delay in delivery of goods and high cost of doing business encountered by exporters and importers of cargos.
According to the Chairperson of the National Logistic Platform, Dr Merian Kyomugisha Sebunya, the people of Gulu and the entire northern Uganda should make sure they are part of the value chain for that is where the most lucrative deal happens.
Ms Damali who is also a trade analyst, told Daily Monitor that the logistic hub will enable locally manufactured exports such as from Shea butter, groundnut pest and Simsim among other agricultural product, quickly and easily access regional market.
“After goods have been delivered here, there is no way the trucks should go back empty! Our exports here should be loaded in those truck and taken to Kenya, South Sudan or DRC without any qualms,”…