Uganda on Saturday commenced collection of road tolls along the Kampala- Entebbe Expressway, a major and quicker gateway to the country’s only international Airport.
The 51km road, one of the country’s most expensive, was built using a $350 million loan from Exim Bank of China.
The commencement of toll collections follows months of preparation and engagement with the public on the process of operations and the fees structure for the various classes of vehicles that will use the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway.
Motorists on the road will be required to pay between Ush5,000 ($1.4) and Ush18,000 ($5) depending on the size of their vehicle.
While launching the tolling on Saturday, Works and Transport Minister General Katumba Wamala said that part of the money made from the fees collection will be used to finance the loan while the rest will be used on operation expenditure such as security along the road, ambulance and breakdown services and routine road maintenance.
“Even if we get the money and pay off the loan and the operators, we still need to do more roads because right now most of the money we are using to build roads, we are borrowing. So it is high time we generated revenue to fund our road construction; this is part of the process,” Gen Katumba said.
French engineering and mobility services firm Egis was awarded the contract to collect the road toll fees.
Uganda has a master plan to reduce motor vehicle traffic within the capital Kampala by constructing expressways leading out of the city but its execution has been hindered by lack of finances.
Currently, the country is constructing the Busega-Mpigi expressway and the procurement process of the Kampala- Jinja expressway, a major link to Kenya, is underway.
According to Gen Katumba, all the expressways that the country is constructing will be toll roads.
A recent amendment of the Ugandan laws now allows the government to collect toll fees from road users on particular roads if the public has a free alternative.