The government’s plan to turn the Source of the Nile into an international tourist destination has been questioned, with two of the most expensive sports floated for construction in Jinja City.
In Uganda’s Source of the Nile redevelopment master plan, construction of a Ugx 47 billion Formula One (F1) race track and Ugx 13 billion equestrian facility have been painted as amenities that will make tourists stay longer in Jinja.
The mega sports utilities are two of several amenities included in the Shs430 billion Source of the Nile redevelopment master plan that has Shs146 billion earmarked for hotels and Shs130 billion for the Kimaka airstrip upgrade. Others include golf courses at Shs22.8 billion and cable cars at Shs16 billion.
The government has earmarked a substantial 15 billion Ugandan Shillings for the initial phase of the redevelopment of the Source of the Nile, a historic event that ushers in the transformation of Uganda’s premier tourist attraction into a world-class destination.
Excel Construction Company is entrusted with this monumental task, and the project is expected to be completed within a year.
The redevelopment plan encompasses the construction of various physical infrastructures, including a pier for water vessels, a captivating glass bridge, a restaurant, and several other essential amenities.
Doreen Katusiime the permanent secretary of the ministry emphasized that these improvements are geared towards enticing more tourists to visit the Source of the Nile and firmly rebutted claims by critics who suggested that the government had intentions to seize people’s land.
“We have a 20-year master plan to develop the Source of the Nile, and this marks the initiation of the first phase, which will take one year for construction,” Katusiime stated.
She further highlighted that the government has embarked on the redevelopment of all tourist attractions across the country to attract a larger number of tourists.
“We have a twenty-year master plan for the entire Source of the Nile, covering a radius of 10 kilometers, but the ultimate goal is to elevate the Source of the Nile into a world-class tourism destination. This will encourage visitors to stay longer and spend more money at the Source,” Ms. Katusiime explained.
Katusiime firmly reiterated that the Source of the Nile’s redevelopment is a government-backed project on both sides, encompassing Njeru in Buikwe district and Jinja. She dispelled any doubts by critics who alleged that the government had hidden agendas to acquire people’s land.
“The constitution allows the government to acquire land, but there is a process to be followed to determine the land’s ownership, value, and fair compensation. We are currently in the process of compensating all landowners affected by this project,” Ms. Katusiime assured.
The initiative has sparked excitement among various stakeholders in Jinja, who have praised the government for its unwavering commitment to enhancing the Source of the Nile. Jinja city mayor, Mr. Peter Okocha Kasolo, expressed his gratitude, saying,
“Since John Speke discovered the Source of the Nile, there has been little development in the past years to describe the area. Thanks to the Ugandan government for taking steps to foster growth in the region.”
Jinja Resident City Commissioner, Mr. Darius Nandinda, also lauded the government’s efforts in boosting tourism, stating,
“I thank you, Madam PS, for this initiative, but I believe we need a tourism think tank in this country. Apart from the God-given tourist attractions, there is nothing to keep tourists engaged for hours or to attract them to return. When you go to Sipi, there is nothing; when you go to Amabeere ga Nyinamwiru, there is nothing. Hence, there is a need to develop all these attractions to bolster tourism.”