Kampala- Entebbe Express highway toll fees
Government to begin charging fees for using Entebbe Express highway in June. File Photo

Government to begin charging fees for using Entebbe Express highway in June next year

The State Minister for Works, Gen. Katumba Wamala has indicated that all motorists will start paying for the newly constructed Kampala- Entebbe Express highway in the coming financial year.

Addressing a press conference at the launch of the Road Act 2019 yesterday, Gen.Katumba said collecting funds meant to pay for road construction was supposed to begin immediately after its opening but they were delayed because a law needed to be officially put in writing.

According to Katumba, it was impossible to begin asking for money from road users yet there is no law signed by the President giving a go-ahead.

“Those who have been enjoying it free of charge should know that starting the next financial year, they will have to pay something to use the road,” Gen.Katumba indicated at the launch of the Road Act 2019.

According to the Roads Act 2019, development, operation, management and maintenance of toll roads shall be supported by the use of appropriate technologies including Intelligence Transport Systems, Electronic Toll Collections and Asset Management Systems.

The new Road Act, however, exempts emergency vehicles including the fire brigade, ambulance and the presidential convoy from paying the road toll.

Kampala- Entebbe Express highway toll fees
Kampala- Entebbe Express highway under construction. File Photo

In a statement, Gen.Katumba Wamala said that Ugandans should take this as an opportunity to develop the country and not a hindrance as it is something that many other countries are using to oversee quick development.

“In many countries, like in South Korea, they started by borrowing to construct expensive roads, they went into generating a special fund for constructing roads and now they have moved into public-private partnerships that private partners develop the infrastructure and coop their money from the infrastructure,” Katumba implied adding it is the same strategy they are planning to apply on other roads yet to be constructed around the country.

Meanwhile, Katumba advised Ugandans who cannot cope with the charges to apply alternative means including using other public roads that are cost-free.

“The good thing with these roads there is also an option of using the other road which his free when one does not have money. The one for paying gives advantage to the user to enjoy the benefit of paying money and not being inconvenienced,” the State Minister added.

Earlier last year, President Museveni officially launched the 49.56km four-lane shs1.8 trillion expressway that was constructed by China Construction and Communication Company.

With the road also set to be extended to the Busega – Mpigi end, Eng. Isaac Wani, the Director Network Planning & Engineering in UNRA says that they are in the final steps of assessment to determine how much motorists will need to pay to add that part of the report was also handed over to the ministry.

“It has been a complex structuring and it is the reason the process seems a little bit slower. We consider this assessment because it what the road users will be able to pay. It will be affordable,” Eng. Wani said adding they expect the whole process to be done within the first quarter of next year.

By John Dalton Kigozi