Kampala is eager to expand trade with Democratic Republic of Congo to compensate for lost revenues from goods shipments to Rwanda after relations between the two countries soured.
In the original budget for this financial year passed in June, Uganda’s government had said it planned to spend a total 45.5 trillion shillings.
The East African country plans to spend a portion of the extra 2 trillion shillings to build 223 km (138 miles) in the east of Congo, according to a supplementary budget presented in parliament on Tuesday.
According to the budget, seen by Reuters on Wednesday, the new roads will help improve transport links for “the two countries in order to boost trade between the two countries, ease business, and improve people to people connectivity and security.”
The ministry did not give details about how they would raise the extra money.
Battered by decades of war and militia violence, eastern Congo is badly underdeveloped and heavily relies on goods shipped in from Uganda. But bad cross-border transport links means trade between the two countries remains relatively low.
Uganda shipped goods worth $249 million to Congo in 2019, 36% up from 10 years earlier.
The ministry said the government plans to spend some of the extra cash on curbing the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for a general election due in February next year.
Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, 75 and in power since 1986, is seeking another term that could extend his rule to 40 years.
($1 = 3,738.0000 Ugandan shillings)
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by George Obulutsa, William Maclean)
By Elias Biryabarema
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