Uganda has unveiled equipment secured from different countries to construct and upgrade three roads in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The road equipment including excavators, tractors, rollers, vehicles for monitoring, trucks, and containers installed with office, accommodation and health facilities are assembled at Dott Services Limited base and others at Liberty Internal Custom Depot at Namanve industrial park.
In 2020, Uganda declared it was embarking on the project of constructing roads in DRC to improve security and economic interconnectivity following a trade standoff with Rwanda, one of the export destinations for grains and other produce.
The roads targeted are Kasindi-Beni (80kms), Kasindi-Butembo Axis (54kms) and Bunagana–Ruchuru-Goma road (89kms). On May 27, 2021, the two governments signed an inter-government agreement to enable the project.
On June 16, 2021, Presidents; Yoweri Museveni and Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo made a groundbreaking ceremony at Mpondwe-Kasindi. At least Shs 243.7 billion ($65.9m) will be spent on the entire project.
The commissioner for roads and bridges at Uganda’s ministry of Works and Transport, Eng Stephen Kitonsa notes that on Friday this week, the project steering committee shall hold a meeting in DRC, where, the contractor (Dott Services) shall be introduced to the leaders and officially, the campsite shall be handed over so as enable shifting of the equipment from Namanve.
“We’re so glad about the mobilization of equipment by Dott, they are now ready to begin the physical works. The contractor, Dott Services is going to be introduced to the leaders and officially is going to be handed the campsite. This is why the equipment is here because the site has not yet been handed to [Dott]. So the meeting on Friday is going to pave the way for the commencement of the physical works,” said Kitonsa.
Jameson Olonya, Dott Services contracts manager says some other equipment is still in transit but so far they are good to start. He assures that working in DRC is an opportunity to create a good public image of what they are able to do.
“We’re looking forward that the cost that we keep carrying forward by keeping this equipment here will have to be mitigated when the service is handed over so that we eventually shift all this equipment to DRC. The total number of containers that we have at the moment is 50, and it is a split between office accommodation and residential accommodation. Our understanding is that in order for you to mobilize quickly for phase one work is supposed to be executed within one year. If we’re to spend more time doing construction for the offices, it will not be adequate, it will not be convenient for the phase one work,” said Olonya.
Jean Pierre Massala, the DRC ambassador to Uganda and also the chairperson of the steering committee is excited by the current step of procuring the equipment, saying once the project is completed, will continue strengthening the relationship of the two countries.
“We’re pleased by the number and quality of equipment we found on the site. Indeed, it is not yet even complete. It is part of the commitment taken by the Republic of Congo to participate and be active in the achievement of these roads which will of course promote security, economic, and also social links between the two countries,” said Massala.