Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has this morning resolved to summon Finance Minister Matia Kasaija over $200 million Uganda borrowed from Exim Bank of China for the expansion of Entebbe International Airport.
The Committee Chairperson Joel Ssenyonyi told the press that the minister is needed to shed light on the 2015 financing agreement with Exim Bank of China.
“We had invited him and the letter we had written was an invitation letter but when you decide to snub the committee then we engage another gear because we have powers to do that. Now we are going to summon him using the powers that we have, of the high court,” Ssenyonyi ruled.
“After the letter reached him, I called his phone. It’s the bodyguard that picked. He said that he (Kasaija) is in another meeting and going for another one and will not be able to show up for the COSASE meeting and that he is not ready,” he explained.
Yesterday while appearing before the same committee, Attorney General (AG) Kiryowa Kiwanuka refuted allegations that Uganda was likely to lose its airport to China because of the loan.
“This contract was signed on 31st March 2015 with a grace period of 84 months which is seven years. The first repayment date is 1st April 2022; the Government of Uganda cannot be in default during the grace period,” Kiwanuka pointed out.
“Secondly, this is not a dispute between Uganda and China. This is a transaction between the Government of Uganda and the Exim Bank of China. So let us not make it seem like the Government of China lent Uganda money. It is the Exim Bank of China that lent Uganda money,” he added.
Kasaija who is said to have been a signatory is expected to shed light on reports that Uganda has covertly tried to renegotiate “toxic” clauses with the Chinese, all in vain.