Uganda if things fall apart might loose it’s only Entebbe International Airport to China over an airport expansion Loan extended to the Museveni government through the EXIM bank.
According to the finance ministry, Uganda got a loan of over UGX700 billion to expand the International Airport to be able to handle the increasing traffic.
However, members of parliament on the COSASE committee led by NUP’s Joel Ssenyonyi were left in shock when the minister Matia Kasaija revealed that the loan agreements particularly the one of expanding the Entebbe Airport had a lot of conditions that could lead to China ceasing the airport like it has done in other countries.
For example, the loan agreement was made in Chinese laws and everything incase of default by the Museveni government was to be handled in China not in Uganda.
Another issue that raised concern is that government was made to open up an account where they could deposit the loan collateral in Stanbic bank and China’s EXIM bank over sees the transactions of that account, meaning Uganda has no say but only to pay at all costs or risk loosing the airport.
This shocking revelation comes at a time when Uganda’s debt burden sits at over UGX60 trillion though Museveni’s government insists Ugandans are still able to pay that money.
It was still in the same committee that State Minister for Finance and Planning Hon Amos Lugoloobi and PS Ramathan Ggoobi revealed government borrowed over UGX30 trillion but this money continues to be dormant on government accounts without going to the intended purpose of borrowing it yet the country continues to pay interests for that money in every financial year.
China has risen to be Africa’s biggest borrower and some countries like Zambia and Sri Lanka have fallen prey of China’s expansionism tricks to take over country property to recover loans.
For example Beijing took over Sri Lanka’s port to recover money she lent Sri Lanka, China also took over Zambia’s copper mining industry and key government entitites to recover money she lent to Zambia.
As of 2021, China through it’s subsidiary state owned China Harbor Construction Company took over Sri Lanka’s port and would run it for 18 years to recover the money through the activities and profits it makes then hand it over to Sri Lanka later.
There has also been growing fears that Kenya too risks loosing her busiest Mombasa port over a Chinese loan particularly the one that financed Kenya’s standard gauge rail way (SGR).
Uganda has been on a borrowing spree over the years to finance different projects especially Roads construction, Hydro Electric dams but a lot of money in trillions according to the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) has been lost due to corruption.
We wait to see what lies ahead as Uganda owes alot of money to many countries, International agencies like International Monetary Fund (IMF), World bank, African development bank among others.
However, minister for finance Kasaija accepted that indeed government gets into loans with such conditions that risk the countries treasured property but not at any time will money lenders cease Uganda’s property but only to work hard and clear the loans.
Uganda's Entebbe Airport on high risks of receivership by China after @Parliament_Ug's COSASE discovered unfair terms in an agreement btn the two countries on
about 740bn loan extended by EXIM Bank of China to upgrade the Airport. #PepperUpdatesUG pic.twitter.com/cM0obUxtNc
— Red Pepper Uganda (@RedPepperUG) October 28, 2021
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