Last Updated on: 30th June 2023, 04:24 pm
Speaker of Parliament Annet Anita Among is demanding the minister of finance to present a schedule before the house showing how much funds are released per district.
- The government has only released funds for Q4 of the financial year 2021/2022
- Road Fund says release was significantly scaled down as in the previous quarters due to the continued suppression of the budgets for MDAs attributed to COVID-19-related challenges.
Lira – August 10, 2022: Kole North Member of Parliament Dr Opio Acuti Samuel is concerned about why the Ministry of Finance and economic development has not made a statement regarding delays in releasing funds for road maintenance across the country.
In his submission during the Tuesday, August 9, parliamentary session, MP Opio said it’s now more than two weeks since he raised a matter of national importance before parliament.
“Right Honorable Speaker, two weeks ago I raised a matter of national importance in regards to the non-release of funds for road maintenance in sub-counties and town councils across more than 2000 sub-counties and town councils in this country and the presiding officer guided that the Prime Minister engages the minister of finance and come back to the House and make a statement..” Opio stated.
According to the MP, heavy rains are increasing and several places are getting cut off but there is no fund for road maintenance.
“The Prime Minister and minister of finance make a statement in that regard,” he further demanded.
Speaking on the same matter, Tororo District Woman MP, Sarah Opendi blamed the current challenges of road maintenance on the failure to operationalize the Road Fund provided for under the Uganda Road Fund Act.
Opendi who is the State Minister for Mineral Development also blamed the Ministry of Finance and economic development for releasing funds ‘as it wishes’ to the Road Fund without following the provisions in the Act.
The Speaker of Parliament Annet Anita Among is demanding the minister of finance to present a schedule before the house showing how much funds are released per district.
According to Speaker Among, presenting the schedule will guide local governments and solve the challenges on roads that the MPs have been raising.
Why was the Act created?
The Uganda Road Fund Act 2008 was created to establish the Uganda Road Fund for financing routine and periodic maintenance of public roads; to facilitate the delivery of road maintenance services; to provide for designated agencies for purposes of the Road Fund; to provide for the management of the Fund, and other related matters. Source: URF website.
In a letter dated 13 April 2022 to accounting officers of district local governments, city councils and municipal local governments, URF communicated the release of funds to it by the Ministry of Finance, planning and economic development to road fund designated agencies for the maintenance of district and urban roads in the fourth quarter [Q4] of the financial; years 2021/2022.
“The Uganda Road Fund received funds from MoFPED on 12/04/2022 and has today 13/04/2022 disbursed funds to local governments for the maintenance of various categories of public roads in Q4 of the FY 2021/2022,” the letter reads in part.
Breakdown of the Q4 release:
UGX6, 453,421,148 to 135 districts, town councils and sub-counties.
UGX858, 834,687 to 10 cities and;
UGX1, 695,712,017 to 31 municipalities.
Supervising agency and road crash data
Uganda National Roads Authority [UNRA] which supervises URF is an agency under the Ministry of Works and Transport. The UNRA Act of 2006 gives the agency the mandate to maintain, manage, and develop the national road network.
Under the directorate of road maintenance, the agency is responsible for guaranteeing that the road network is fully functional to enable the people and goods to move and that it meets the required service levels for condition and safety.
A 2018 study by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa [UNECA] found that some roads in Uganda were poorly maintained in terms of surface quality, markings, and signs, all of which contribute to crashes.
The UN body also found that road maintenance backlog challenges were [is] still common.
Eight years before the study, the government restructured its road design manuals to conform to global standards. It took into account most of the road safety aspects and good safety practices to reduce crashes.
Available data by the Uganda Police Force for June 2022 shows that a total of 1,825 crashes occurred. Out of these 321 were fatal, 995 were serious and 509 were minor.
In July of the same year, Police data also revealed that a total of 328 road crashes occurred; 62 were fatal, 180 were serious, and 86 were minor.
Road crashes remain one of the leading causes of death in Uganda with at least 10 deaths reported everyday.