ARUA. The construction of the multi-billion Arua Hill stadium and business park in Arua city is expected to be completed in May 2022.
The construction work of the stadium which is being undertaken by Development Infrastructure (DI) has currently reached 70 per cent.
Eng. Joel Aita, the DI Director on Tuesday said they are optimistic that by May next year, the stadium and the different businesses at the facility will be operational.
“Currently we are at 70 per cent. We have started finishes now; the doors have been worked on in our workshop in Kampala so, very soon we shall bring and fix them. At the apartment side, we are almost finishing the block work while at the hotel side, we are now doing the final floor. Then on the other side where the banks are, we are also now doing the roofing there,” Aita explained.
He said by next week, they will start working on the pavilion, adding that they have already concluded the pricing for the artificial turf and the pricing for the lighting of the stadium.
According to Aita, the original contract for the project was for three years and their target was to finish it in two years.
“Our own internal target was by July this year we would have finished but from the contract we shall be finishing the project in July next year. I think by May next year we shall have completed the work. I would say the project is still within the contract timeline but not within our set target of two years. The delay was mostly caused by the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak,” Aita said.
The 20, 000 seater capacity Arua Hill stadium also has a total of 200 different businesses ranging from shops, showrooms, hotels, apartments and banks.
Aita noted that most of the businesses are owned by different people. He said they have sold off around 60 per cent of the businesses which will be owned by different people from all parts of the country.
Aita said upon completion, the facility will provide a lot of opportunity for the people of West Nile to reap from different businesses since more foreign currency will be attracted to flow into the Arua economy.
“Definitely, there are going to be so many advantages starting with the stadium itself, there will be a lot of games which will be played here both national and international games because of the way we have designed it. We have designed the stadium to be able to fit within the FIFA specifications. So, that means Uganda Cranes will be able to come and have some of the international games here,” Aita said.
“That comes with a lot of opportunities in hotel accommodation facilities, food facilities and even people will come and see Arua and want to invest here in Arua. That will bring a lot of businesses and focus on Arua,” Aita added.
With the love for entertainment in the region and across DR Congo, Aita said they will be able to bring big Congolese Artistes to come and perform at the stadium hence attracting more foreign exchange.
“We will have a huge facility like for example music shows since we are doing artificial turf, we will be able to do even music shows here. For example, if we bring in Congolese musicians here, we can bring three or four of them every year then all these Congolese from Eastern Congo will all pour here. Two to three days they will be spending a lot of money here. So, this stadium alone will bring a lot of foreign currency here in the Arua economy,” Aita stressed.
He observed that the stadium shall have around 300 parking spaces – meaning it will become the busiest and biggest business center in Arua and the whole of Northern Uganda for people to tap opportunities on a daily basis.
Arua Hill stadium will also double as the home field for Arua Hill Sports Club (SC), the newly promoted Uganda Premier League team.
However, Aita says they are planning to turn the stadium into the home for not only Arua Hill SC but also other interested clubs in Arua.
“This will be the home for Arua Hill SC and we also want to have this as a home for many other clubs. We may have two or three clubs using the stadium as their home just like as you see KCCA, they have close to three or four clubs who play there. In Europe, we also have different clubs which actually share stadiums. So, here we would make it open for any club to be able to play here,” Aita promised.
Sharifa Bako, a businesswoman in Arua town also believes that once the stadium is completed, she will be able to increase her daily sales since different people will be accompanying their teams to Arua and end up buying her things in the neighborhood of the stadium.