The construction of Ntungamo-Mirama Hills road is complete. The contractor, TradeMark East Africa has handed over the road to Uganda National Roads Authority.
According to TMEA Country Manager, Moses Sabiti, Mirama hills route now offers a shorter path to Rwanda than passing through the Katuna border post.
Besides, goods are moving through the paved section of 37km of the Northern Corridor Road Network. The road continues to stretch between Kampala and Kigali.
“Improved physical infrastructure along the northern corridor that is fit for purpose will contribute to reducing the time to transport goods between Kampala and Kigali and, therefore, also contribute to reducing trade costs in East Africa,” said Sabiti.
Road Project Coast
The road did cost US$22mn. Moreover, the project did receive funds from Uganda government and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) through TMEA. However, delays at the border posts are a non-tariff-barrier (NTB) especially for countries like Uganda and Rwanda which are landlock countries.
According to Moses Sabiti, traders lose up to US$600 a day due to delays at border posts and that the consumer feels the loss.
Sigh of Relief on Traffic
However, Ronald Kweezi Mugisa, URA’s station head at Mirama hills, says traffic is now manageable due to road completion. Also more traders are expected to use the route.
“Currently we receive around seven buses a day from both sides and about 15 trucks going through the border. This is a very small number yet we can clear up to 30 trucks and 40 buses a day,” says Sabiti.
John Bosco Rusagara, the director, infrastructure transport and mobilization at East African Business Council (EABC), said the new road and OSBP will enhance the clearing and movement of goods.
“What we want now is that the agencies here do their work 24 hours. The agencies 24 hours operation will encourage more transporters to use the facility,” he said.
Rusagara added: “URA should do their work 24 hours seven days a week; we also want space for clearing agents who will be able to direct trucks to use this route.”
Gabriel Ngabirano, a bus driver who operates on that route, say people suffer a lot at Katuna. Ngabirano further says commuters prefer using the route because the Katuna border post operates 24 hours.