India, Uganda review entire spectrum of bilateral ties

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India and Uganda reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations as both sides held second foreign office-level consultations on Tuesday in New Delhi….reports Asian Lite News

India and Uganda on Tuesday held the second round of Foreign Office Consultations (FOCs) in New Delhi and reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations including political, economic, defence, trade & investment, development partnership, scholarship programmes and capacity building, cultural relations, and people to people contacts.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, discussions were also held on furthering bilateral co-operation in specific sectors such as forensic sciences, health, renewable energy, agro processing, and medium and small enterprises.

At FOCs, while India was represented by Puneet R Kundal, Joint Secretary (E&SA) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Uganda was led by Bagiire Vincent Waiswa, Permanent Secretary from the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the meeting, as per the Ministry, both sides also exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues including co-operation in UN, International Solar Alliance (ISA), East Africa Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The Indian side reiterated their invitation for Uganda to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

As per the Ministry, both sides expressed happiness on the bilateral trade, which touched US$ 840 million for 2021-22 and discussed ways and means to further increase this trade.

The Indian side congratulated Uganda for their forthcoming Chairship of the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) starting in 2023.

Discussions were also held on the fourth edition of India-Africa Forum Summit proposed to be held in 2023.

Both sides agreed to hold the next round of Consultations at a mutually convenient date in Kampala

WB-funded roads in Uganda

Chinese contractor is seeking additional time to complete World Bank-funded roads in Uganda.

The seven roads include Lakidi Road, Philip Adonga Road, Janani Loum Road, Kitgum Road, Tom Apila and Oneka Roads all located in the Central division, Aya Hellen Dean located in Pandwong division, reported New Vision.

The Chinese firm, China Railway 18 Bureau Group Co Ltd, was given the contract for the work which was expected to last 18 months.

The roads were constructed under the World Bank-funded Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development Program (USMID).

The Chinese firm was approved as a contractor for the multi-billion road works in March this year after emerging as the best-evaluated bidder, reported New Vision.

Thomas Oketayot, the president of Kitgum Municipal Development Forum (MDF) said that the contractor was granted a four-month contract extension period by the local government ministry in September this year with caution to finish the works by January 30, reported New Vision.

Oketayot says that the contractor won’t be able to beat the November 30 deadline, which is less than a month away.

He said MDF and the engineering department of Kitgum municipal had received a minute of a site meeting in which the project manager highlighted a possible extension period of another four months to January next year to fully complete the work, reported New Vision.

“Initially, the contract period was ending in November this year, but from that minute I saw the project manager saying there is a communication coming through that the contract period will be extended,” says Oketayot.

Alex Abonga, the engineer at Kitgum municipality, says the contract period must be extended so that the contractor covers the current outstanding works. He noted that finishing road works at Kitgum municipality can’t be rushed at the moment to beat the November deadline, reported New Vision.

Kitgum municipality is among eight new municipalities that started benefiting from a USD 350 Million World Bank-funded project in 2019.

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