Parliament has directed that the Road Rehabilitation Development Grant should be managed by the Uganda Road Fund, 2008 under the auspices of district roads committees.
The directives were issued by the Speaker, Anita Among on Thursday, 27 July 2023, following debate on a report by the Committee on Physical Infrastructure on implementation guidelines to manage the funds.
Government allocated shs1 billion for each district, 10 cities and 31 municipalities in a bid to improve the condition of the district, urban and community roads which is aimed at enhancing rural accessibility and working environments in urban areas.
The Speaker said the respective administrative units must ensure prudent and accountable utilisation of the disbursed funds in line with guidelines of the Road Fund.
“All districts, cities and municipalities are hereby directed to immediately hold statutory meetings as provided for under the Uganda Road Fund Act, 2008 in order to prioritize and devise work plans,” said Among.
She added that, ’the work plans for each district, city and municipality must be duly approved by the respective roads committees, which shall equally apply to accountability reports’.
While presenting the committee report, Deputy Chairperson, Hon. Tony Awany, said the guidelines on utilisation of the grant did not offer clarity the role of district road committees in the implementation process of the fund.
“The committee recommends that if the status quo remains as it is, the role of the district road committees should be clearly spelt out right from planning, approvals and the entire implementation process,” said Awany.
He urged legislators to be involved in the road rehabilitation and maintenance activities in their respective constituencies, to ensure proper utilisation of the grant.
Hon. John Faith Magolo (NRM, Bungokho County North) endorsed the recommendation for the grant to be managed at the district.
“Districts with mountainous areas have a very unique challenge of the terrain. When you put murram, it is washed away by heavy rains; that is why that money should be under the direct management of the district works committees who know the needs,” Magolo said.
Hon. Tonny Ayoo (NRM, Kwania County) said that the district roads committees should guide the utilisation of the shs1 billion.
“The Physical Infrastructure Committee should fast-track the amendment of the Road Fund Act to make implementation clear otherwise, the Ministry of Works will always have their say which will bring confusion,” said Ayoo.
Hon. Shamim Malende (NUP, Kampala District Woman Representative) noted that funds released in the first quarter worth shs250 million were not used for their intended purpose.
“I sit on the Kampala City Roads Committee and I received concerns that the money was not used for maintenance and rehabilitation. So, we resolved that the funds must be directly managed at the district,” Malende said.
The State Minister for Finance, Hon. Henry Musasizi committed that the grant funding will be sent directly to the districts and not through any other channel.
Mukono Municipality MP, Hon. Betty Nambooze raised concerns of district roads committees planning for funds of municipalities, yet the grant separately caters for money to these administrative units.
She attributed this to lack of roads committees at municipal level.
The Minister for Local Government, Hon. Raphael Magyezi clarified that the district roads committees harmonize plans for the funds but each municipality keeps its share for road works.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.