Why Lango was omitted from PRELNOR’s $70.9m community roads project

(Last Updated On: 2 March 2024)

Lango was not selected to benefit from the project, according to a project officer in an interview with this publication on Monday.

Kitgum, Oyam – January 17, 2022: Phase one of the community access roads (CARs) constructed under the Project for Restoration of Livelihoods in the Northern Region (PRELNOR) with funding from IFAD has been commissioned.

Under this initial phase, a total of 581km of roads in the nine districts of Acholi and West Nile sub-regions were made.

Beneficiary districts are Kitgum, Gulu, Adjumani, Agago, Pader, Nwoya, Lamwo, Amuru and Omoro.

The project is valued at shs250 billion with no districts from Lango sub-region shortlisted.

Speaking at the commissioning of the 581km of roads, and the groundbreaking ceremony of another 641km of CARs to cover the above districts, Minister of Local Government Raphael Magezi called on the contractor to deliver quality work within the stipulated contract duration.

The ceremony took place on January 13, in Kitgum district.

Magezi tasked the supervising consultant, Kitgum district engineer and the district leaders to ensure the contractor deliver as per the contract agreement.

“Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, PRELNOR projects in many districts including Kitgum dragged on, the contractor has to expedite work to avoid further delay in its implementation,” the local government minister told the gathering.

“The project is a blessing for rural development in Acholi and West Nile sub-regions and if the funds are well utilized, there will be increased chances of getting more funding in future,” said Magezi.

The minister, however, tasked the district council leaders of Kitgum to ensure transparency in the implementation of the PRELNOR program and also urged all the local governments to handle public affairs with integrity; and ensure that assets of local governments in the district custody are safe.

Kitgum district LC5 Chairperson, Arwai Christopher Obwol has cautioned the contractor against undertaking shoddy works. “You are at risk of being reprimanded and terminated.”

According to Arwai, corrupt practices in the local governments have been a major challenge and threat to the decentralization discourse across the country.

Ocom Babu, managing director of AL COM Investment Limited who is currently undertaking the construction of community access roads in Lagoro sub-county in Kitgum district under PRELNOR has pledged to deliver value for money.

He assured the gathering that the firm has the capacity and competence across the country.

Monica Akot, Project Manager of PRELNOR for Uganda called on the residents and local leaders in the districts to own the project for its smooth implementation.

“Roads are the arteries through which the economy pulses by linking producers to the markets, students to school, and the sick to health facilities. Roads are vital to the country’s development agenda,” Akot added.

“These developments have no doubt; it has gone a long way in improving the lives of our people.”

She pledged total commitment to ensure works are done within a stipulated period. “I also appeal to the district local governments to ensure the roads we are commissioning today, as well as those yet to be constructed, be maintained for the continued socio-economic benefits of the people in the region,” Akot appealed.

Lango omitted

On Monday, January 17, TND News asked Akot why Lango sub-region is not benefiting amidst concerns about bad road networks. Describing the question “tough”, she briefly answered: “Those are the only districts we are operating in. We are not working in Lango under this project.”

“We understand PRELNOR is something to do with Northern Uganda and why is one sub-region left out?” TND News Editorial Desk asked, and Akot responded first with a burst of joyful laughter and added, “I wish I could ask my PS that question but what I know is this was a donor-developed project and there were criteria used to see where the project would be sent.”

According to her, she joined the program last year when it was a “peak year down the road”. “So really if am to say I will answer you it might not be the right answer.”

LPG speaks out

Judith Alyek is the Chairperson of Lango Parliamentary Group (LPG) and Kole District woman MP. She spoke exclusively to TND News on Monday. Her comments, and demands in the next edition.

Background of the project

PRELNOR is a seven-year project that started on August 5, 2015. It is a $70.9m government of Uganda program with loan support from IFAD ($50.2m), ASAP grant ($10m),  GoU (9.2m); and the beneficiaries’ contribution ($1.5m).

The design of the projects is in line with Uganda Vision 2040 which is the key development focus for Uganda.

Part of the project focuses on strengthening the capacity of smallholder farmers to produce more food in a climate-resilient way and the construction of market linkages infrastructures (CARs).

Currently, Uganda’s total road network is 159,366 km comprising 20,854 km of national roads; 38,603 km of district roads; 19,959 km of urban roads and 79,947 km of community access roads.

Despite the impressive progress made so far, more is still needed to be done to drive Uganda’s socio-economic transformation agenda to the next level.


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