TRANSPORT: The Minister for Works and Transport, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala has said that over Shs5 trillion is needed to execute all pending national road network projects.
Gen. Katumba Wamala while presenting the status of National Road Network and Bridges to Parliament on Wednesday, 01 March 2023 said that Cabinet agreed to reprioritize maintenance of the existing paved, unpaved and critical industrial park roads.
Gen. Katumba Wamala noted that the lengthy rainy seasons continues to accelerate deterioration of the roads which is aggravated by inadequate funds to maintain them.
“Maintenance interventions have been delayed due to budget suppressions in the budget for the previous financial year and the inadequate release of funds in the first quarter of the running national budget.” he added.
The minister added that Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is currently carrying out periodic maintenance of two paved national roads covering a total length of 93KM and requiring a funding commitment of Shs113 billion.
He noted ongoing rehabilitation of six paved national roads covering a distance of 531KM with a funding commitment of at least Shs682 billion over a period of three years.
On upgrading road projects, the minister said that there are 20 ongoing projects across the country covering a total of 1,083KM with an approximate funding requirement of Shs1.8 trillion.
“A total of 1,204KM of paved roads have been technically assessed to be in urgent need of periodic maintenance to deter accelerated deterioration which require five or more times the current cost of maintenance,” Katumba Wamala said.
He noted that the total requirement for rehabilitation projects under procurement and Government of Uganda counterpart funding for externally financed road projects stands at Shs1.2 trillion.
“This means that we need 20 per cent of the above for advance payments translating to Shs240 billion in the next financial year to enable commencement of civil works on these roads,” he added.
He therefore recommended that, at least UGX 690 bilIion per year be allocated and committed to sustainably undertake preventive maintenance of the national road network.
The Speaker Anita Among directed the Ministry of Finance to provide a response on the lack of funding for road projects.
She raised concern with the unequal distribution of the road network and called for equity.
“To ensure fairness and national character as dictated by the constitution, the expansion and maintenance of the road network must reach all corners of the country,” she added.
Speaker Among also called for capacity building of local contractors so that they can take on the projects.
Hon. Yusuf Nsibambi (FDC, Mawokota County South) said that the Ministry of Finance has been adamant to address the funding constraints affecting the Ministry of Works.
“The budgetary appropriations and releases show that money is not provided to the Ministry of Works on time and its prioritizes are not recognised by the Ministry of Finance,” he said.
The Minister of State for Finance (General Duties), Hon. Henry Musasizi said that the resolution arrived at to Prioritise works on existing roads was because of financial constraints the government is facing.
“The circumstances we are operating in do not allow us the additional money to address the ever growing priorities of the government,” he said.