Uganda: Lack of technical, financial capacity affecting road sector

Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013

Lack of financial and technical capacity is hindering the Uganda Road Sector Support Initiatives (URSSI) activities.

Stewart Mutabazi, the URSSI executive director, said the initiative’s inadequate budget cannot enable procurement of services such as technical personnel to facilitate road works.

"We have only one road engineer who works on a part-time basis yet we need technical staff such as transport economists and bridge engineers, but we cannot afford to recruit them because we cannot afford their salaries," said Mutabazi in an interview at the URSSI offices in Kampala recently.

Mutabazi, however, added that he is optimistic most of these challenges will be overcome as more road development partners come on board.

Dan Alinange, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) spokesperson, said financial challenges also affect UNRA operations.

"We have not been able to support road civil society organisations such as URSSI because of financial incapacitation. As UNRA, we do not mind public involvement in road affairs because nationals need to see value for money," said Alinange.

He noted that road funders only look at road works yet there are other activities outside road works such sensitisation and workplace policies that need funding.

UNRA has 100km of road under construction and has a number of other projects such as the construction of a new bridge in Jinja and expansion of the Northern Bypass that will start soon.

Last year, the Government put aside sh1.4 trillion to rehabilitate Kampala-Masaka, Mbale-Katuna, Fort Portal-Bundibugyo and Gulu-Nimule roads.

Alinange said this year sh2 trillion has been earmarked for the construction of Mpigi-Ssembabule, Mukono-Katosi, Gulu-Kitgum roads and other small roads across the country.

He says there is need to integrate urban planning and land use with transport planning, especially focusing on human settlements in urban and peri-urban areas.

USSRI focuses on roads municipal planning and urban development.

Credits: Oyet Okwera/ In East Africa/The New Vision