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Panel Issues Notice of Registration in Uganda Roads Case

The Inspection Panel on November 9, 2020, issued a Notice of Registration for a Request for Inspection of the North Eastern Road-corridor Asset Management Project in Uganda.
The development objective of the project is “to reduce transport costs, enhance road safety, and improve and preserve the road assets sustainably by applying cost effective performance based asset management contracts, along the Tororo-Kamdini road corridor.” The Request raises two sets of concerns. The first relates to the valuation of Oruja Rock, which is located in the Requesters’ community and was to be used as a stone quarry for the rehabilitation of the road. The second relates to the involuntary resettlement process.
The Requesters claim that they are part of a clan that owns the rock and has used it and the surrounding land “since time immemorial for agriculture, artisanal mining, drying cassava, cultural practice, etc.” They raise concerns related to insufficient compensation for their land, loss of livelihood, destruction of their crops, properties and houses, and non-disclosure of project information. The Requesters also raise concerns about intimidation and reprisals. They allege that eight families of their community were coerced into signing unfair lease agreements with the contractor for use of the rock and were pressed to withdraw all grievances related to the rock as well as to land and livelihood issues. 

The Panel’s registration implies no judgment concerning the merits of the Request. Bank management must provide the Panel with a response to the issues raised in the Request by December 11, 2020. After receiving the response and engaging with the relevant stakeholders, the Panel will make a recommendation to the Board of Executive Directors on whether the matter should be investigated.