Uganda: Unra Seeks Shs300b for Road Maintenance

Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is seeking Shs300b to maintain roads across the country.

The UNRA board chairman, Mr Fred Omach, disclosed the funding gap yesterday during the inauguration of the new board members of UNRA and East African Aviation Academy at the Ministry of Works and Transport headquarters in Kampala.

Mr Omach explained that over the years, the authority made great strides in ensuring that Uganda's road network is upgraded.

The National Development Plan II indicated that at least 6,000 kilometres of roads across the country would be tarmacked by the end of 2020.

Currently, a total of 5,600 kilometres have been tarmacked.

Mr Omach said the target would have been achieved by now if Covid-19 did not slow down the planned activities.

"We want the government to increase and ring fence the road maintenance budget by at least Shs300b to ensure roads are maintained at an acceptable level of service at all times," Mr Omach said.

The board chairman also asked government to increase funding for the ongoing development programmes by at least Shs500 billion to reduce indebtedness to service providers, project affected persons and the cost of the road development programme.

An additional Shs20b is also needed for recurrent expenditure to address the supervision challenges, according to Mr Omach.

"We also want to consolidate funds for road development into a single code for works to reduce costs incurred in interest on delayed payments and we are requesting the ministry support to the authority to lobby government for adequate funding to clear the domestic arrears and get the institution out of the mischarge dilemma," he said.

Mr Omach said since 2017 when the board members were first appointed, the board approved the UNRA Strategic Plan for 2017-2022 based on the balance score card system that has enabled alignment of the UNRA vision and Strategy with individual staff performance thereby aligning the whole organisation towards supporting the Authority's strategy.

He also said since 2016/17, when the authority introduced the in-house legal services, the cost of legal services reduced to Shs2.4b annually, down from Shs5b which the authority used to spend on external legal service providers.

Gen Katumba Wamala, the Minister of Works and Transport said his ministry is already in discussions with the Finance Ministry to ensure that more funds are allocated to UNRA for road maintenance.

"We have already initiated discussions with the Finance Ministry and we shall ensure that the funds are provided. It does not make sense to tarmac so many roads that at the end of the day get wasted because we cannot maintain them and at the end of the day we start fresh construction works," he said.

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