Uganda began collecting tolls on the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway on Saturday, an important and faster gateway to the country’s only international airport.
The 51 km long road, one of the most expensive in the country , was built using a $ 350 million loan from Exim Bank of China.
The start of the toll collection follows months of preparation and dialogue with the public about the process and the fee structure for the different vehicle classes that use the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway.
Drivers will have to pay between USD 5,000 (USD 1.4) and USD 18,000 (USD 5) depending on the size of their vehicle.
When the tolls were introduced on Saturday, the Minister General of Construction and Transport, Katumba Wamala, said that some of the money from the toll collection will be used to finance the loan, while the rest will be used for business expenses such as road safety hr, health and breakdown services as well as road maintenance.
“Even if we get the money and pay off the loan and the operator, we still have to build more roads, because right now we are borrowing most of the money, that we use for road construction. So it is high time to generate income to finance our road construction; this is part of the process, ”said General Katumba.
The French engineering and mobility services company Egis was awarded the contract to collect the tolls.
Uganda has a master plan to reduce car traffic within the capital Kampala by building highways out of the city, but its implementation has been hampered by a lack of finance.
The country is currently building the Busega Mpigi Expressway and the procurement process for the Kampala-Jinja Expressway, an important link into Kenya, is ongoing.
According to General Katumba, all of the expressways the country is building will be toll roads.
< A recent change to Ugandan law now allows the government to collect tolls from road users on certain roads if the public has a free alternative.