BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
ARUA: FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2023
The government has decided to give every district sh1b for road rehabilitation in addition to the usual annual road funds, Works and Transport minister, Gen Katumba Wamala has said.
“The money will come in three tranches. The ministry is coming up with guidelines on how to use the money,” Gen Wamala affirmed.
He made the remarks during the recent presidential wealth creation tour of West Nile in which president Yoweri Museveni was accompanied by many of the ministers to answer the grievances of the people.
“Without roads, without infrastructure, you cannot develop,” Gen Wamala acknowledged in front of the gathered local leaders who penned a memo to the government including demand to improve road infrastructure in order to realize the economic potential of the sub-region.
He said as a result of this realization, the government has prioritized funding to the road transport sector to tarmac and maintain national roads that connect from border to border such as the Karuma-Pakwach-Arua-Oraba road and the Karuma-Gulu-Atyak-Adjumani-Moyo-Afoji road.
He noted that the West Nile sub-region is covered by 1,672km of national roads under the management of the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) of which 272km (16.3%) is paved with tarmacK.
There are district roads maintained through central government supplied road equipment (roller, bulldozer, excavator, grader and water tanker) of which Gen Wamala said only Obongi and Terego do not have. There are also networks of community roads handled by sub-counties.
Gen Wamala was however reminded by the Arua City Mayor, Sam Wadri Nyakua, that the city failed to utilize road funds for the last financial year because it lacks road equipment and the Arua district refused to lend them equipment for road maintenance due to row over asset sharing.
Gen Katumba’s records show that the government send substantial sums of money totaling to sh4,887,744,697 to all the districts and urban authorities in West Nile in the last financial year for road maintenance and every sub county in the region received 50% of what they requested for, totaling to sh557,175,569.
Gen Wamala said that before Covid 19 pandemic, a number of roads were planned for construction including the Manibe-Terego-Yumbe road that was to be funded by Japanese International Cooperation Agency.
The minister indicated that some of the plans were changed when economic conditions changed due to the impact of Covid19.
“We are going to do murram on Terego roads,” he said to the bemusement of the leaders from that district.
Sunday Ayikoru, the Vice chairperson of Terego district wondered why the youngest district of Uganda should be left behind in terms of good roads.
“The Manibe –Terego-Yumbe road is used to transport expectant women to Arua referral hospital because we don’t have a district hospital. We lose women on the way because of that bad road,” she cried to no avail.
Gen Wamala insisted that the government has decided not to start new tarmacking projects but is going to finish ongoing projects and maintain the existing paved roads.
Gen Wamala disclosed that the Atyak-Adjumani-Laropi road will be completed with a bridge which is currently being designed to connect to Afoji via Moyo.
The potholed Nebbi-Arua road would be repaired and maintained while the 103km Koboko-Yumbe-Moyo road will be the only new tarmacking project to start this year.
The minister said the road will be funded by the World Bank under the refugee program. “We have paid 90% compensation to affected people. If we do the road well, the World Bank is willing to fund Zombo-Warr-Vurra road construction,” he added.
Gen Wamala confirmed that the Nebbi-Goli road is under procurement, the Arua-Lia-Odromachaku road just like the Panyimur-Pakwach-Rhino Camp-Obongi-Moyo road is planned but not on program.