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

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

The construction of Hoima City stadium is set to commence following Parliament's approval of Shs152 billion as part of the Shs288.6 billion Supplementary Budget Schedule No. 03 for the financial year 2023/2024.

The decision was made during a plenary sitting chaired by Speaker Anita Among on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

This funding is critical as Uganda, along with Kenya and Tanzania, prepares to co-host the 36th edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2027.

Hoima City stadium is one of the designated venues for the tournament. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) awarded the hosting rights to the East African joint Pamoja Bid in September 2023.

Hon. Henry Musasizi, Minister of State for Finance, Planning, and Economic Development (General Duties), emphasized the urgency of the allocation, stating,

"This funding will enable the contractor to commence construction of the stadium to be ready before the deadline of December 31, 2025, required by CAF for Uganda to co-host the 2027 AFCON."

In addition to the stadium funding, Parliament approved Shs132.6 billion for the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) to increase its equity in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

This is necessary to address the cash call resulting from delayed financial flows by financers, with the funding needed before July 2024.

Both projects will be financed from the Petroleum Fund, which currently holds Shs400 billion.

"I propose to utilize Shs284.6 billion in line with the Public Finance Management Act to finance acquisition of equity in EACOP and construction of Hoima City stadium," Musasizi stated.

Further approvals included Shs2.5 billion for Uganda Blood Transfusion Services to support blood collection, processing, and distribution for the current quarter, and Shs1.4 billion for Uganda's Embassy in Geneva to settle accumulated dues for rent, salaries, medical insurance, and utilities.

Despite the approvals, there was opposition from Kira Municipality Member of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju, who questioned the urgency of the supplementary budget. He argued that the construction of Hoima stadium does not constitute unforeseeable expenditure as outlined in Section 25 of the Public Finance Management Act.

Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka explained the necessity of immediate funding to adhere to contractual timelines and avoid delays.

"If Parliament is happy to wait until the next financial year, the problem is we will lose timelines as far as deadlines. Unfortunately, the law does not allow me to approve the contract without knowing the source of funds," Kiwanuka stated.

He also highlighted the need for financing UNOC, citing global economic changes that necessitated Uganda's increased equity in EACOP.

"Unfortunately, because of the change in the world order and economic setting, we have been required to put in the equity, it was not known to us at the time we approved the budget," he said.