The implementation of Universal Road Access Program (URAP) - designed to link rural communities with major markets, economic corridors and urban areas - despite progress on GTPI, faces slowdown over the first two years of GTPII mainly due to financial constraint, learnt The Ethiopian Herald.
Through the program, around 47,000 km of roads has been constructed throughout the country during GTP I period. However, over the past two years only 11, 450 km has been built which is far below the set target 40,000 km, says Areaya Girmay, Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) General Director.
As per of the program, the nation planned to construct over 90 km of road during GTP II. But, the program has come under various challenges. Budget constraint is what States mentioned as a main bottleneck for the poor performance. This shortfall has in turn impacted the overall performance of the road sector, he adds.
The program is meant to connect rural communities with urban areas, economic corridors and market. This would put the communities in better conditions to improve their livelihood. Hence, effective and efficient implementation of URAP need to get proper attention from all sides, noted Areaya,.
Previously, it was the federal government that had been financing the program but the fund was later injected to the construction of the agro-industries. Hence, all States are required to allocate the needed amount on their own. That is why some States have encountered with budget limitation affecting the implementation of the program.
There is discrepancy among States in terms of implementing the program. And it is primarily attributable to lack of finance. But all states should put in place the required finance and make sure the program is carried out efficiently and timely, notes Ahmed Shide, Minister of Transport.
States representatives also requested ERA to avail them with heavy machinery and other capacity building tools which the latter vowed to do its level best for the successful accomplishment of the program.
Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created for local contractors, consultants and others as a result of URAP. The community has had active role in financing the program as well.
A day-long discussion forum which brought States bureau representatives, ERA and others together was held here yesterday.