Sports

Parliament Approves Shs152 Billion for Hoima City Stadium Construction Ahead of AFCON 2027

What you need to know more about

  • Henry Musasizi, the Minister of State for Finance, Planning, and Economic Development (General Duties), explained that the Shs152 billion will serve as an advance payment to initiate construction at the Hoima City stadium.
  • The stadium is expected to stimulate local economic growth, attract tourism, and provide a platform for Ugandan athletes to showcase their talents on a global stage.

In a landmark decision, the Ugandan Parliament has approved Shs152 billion for the construction of the Hoima City stadium, part of the Shs288.6 billion Supplementary Budget Schedule No.03 for the financial year 2023/2024. This approval, which took place on Thursday, May 16, 2024, sets the stage for Uganda’s preparation to co-host the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2027 alongside Kenya and Tanzania under the East Africa joint Pamoja Bid.

Budget Approval and Legislative Session

The supplementary budget, which was approved during a plenary session chaired by Speaker Anita Among, includes the allocation of Shs152 billion specifically for the Hoima City stadium project. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) granted hosting rights for the 36th edition of AFCON to Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania in September 2023. The Hoima City stadium will be one of the key venues for this prestigious tournament.

Financial Allocations and Project Timelines

Henry Musasizi, the Minister of State for Finance, Planning, and Economic Development (General Duties), explained that the Shs152 billion will serve as an advance payment to initiate construction at the Hoima City stadium. “This funding will enable the contractor to commence construction to ensure the stadium is ready before the CAF deadline of December 31, 2025, allowing Uganda to co-host the 2027 AFCON,” Musasizi stated.

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Additional Financial Approvals

Beyond the stadium, Parliament also sanctioned Shs132.6 billion for the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) to acquire additional equity in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). Musasizi noted that this funding addresses a cash call due to delayed financial flows from financers, required before July 2024. Both the stadium and the EACOP equity acquisition will be financed through the Petroleum Fund, as stipulated under Section 59(3) of the Public Finance Management Act.

Other Budgetary Approvals

In addition to these major allocations, the lawmakers approved Shs2.5 billion for Uganda Blood Transfusion Services to enhance blood collection, processing, and distribution for the current quarter. Furthermore, Uganda’s Embassy in Geneva received Shs1.4 billion to cover outstanding dues for rent, salaries, medical insurance, and utilities, ensuring no legal actions from service providers and landlords.

Opposition and Legal Justifications

Despite the broad support, the supplementary budget faced opposition from Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju. He argued that the construction of the Hoima stadium does not qualify as unforeseeable expenditure under Section 25 of the Public Finance Management Act. “When did you win the bid to host AFCON, and why was this expenditure not included in the regular budget? This supplementary budget will be implemented in just one month, so what is so urgent?” Ssemujju questioned.

Clarifications from the Attorney General

Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka responded, emphasizing the necessity of having immediate funds to sign off contracts for the stadium’s construction. “If Parliament prefers to wait until the next financial year, we risk missing critical deadlines. The law prohibits me from approving contracts without confirmed funding sources,” Kiwanuka explained.

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Rationale for Funding UNOC

Kiwanuka also justified the need to finance UNOC, highlighting unforeseen economic changes requiring Uganda to provide the equity itself. “Partners in EACOP were expected to finance the equity acquisition. Due to shifts in the global economic landscape, Uganda must now cover this cost,” he said.

Hoima City Stadium: A Future Sports Hub

The construction of Hoima City stadium is a significant step towards bolstering Uganda’s sports infrastructure. Once completed, it will serve as a central venue for both national and international events, particularly the AFCON 2027. The stadium is expected to stimulate local economic growth, attract tourism, and provide a platform for Ugandan athletes to showcase their talents on a global stage.

Project Execution and Timelines

The Ministry of Finance has outlined a clear timeline for the stadium’s construction, ensuring adherence to CAF’s deadlines. The contractor is set to begin work immediately, with the project expected to be completed by December 31, 2025. This ambitious timeline requires efficient coordination among various stakeholders, including government agencies, construction firms, and CAF officials.

Broader Economic and Social Impacts

The development of Hoima City stadium is not just about sports. It is a multifaceted project that promises to bring broad economic and social benefits to the region. The construction phase will create jobs, while the completed stadium will boost local businesses, hospitality, and transportation sectors. Additionally, it will provide a modern facility for local sports events, community activities, and possibly serve as a catalyst for further infrastructure improvements in the area.

Conclusion

With Parliament’s approval of Shs152 billion for the Hoima City stadium, Uganda is poised to meet its obligations as a co-host of AFCON 2027. This decision underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing sports infrastructure and promoting national pride through international events. As the Teen Cranes and other national teams prepare for future competitions, the new stadium will stand as a testament to Uganda’s growing presence in the global sports arena.

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