KAMPALA – The Minister of Works and Transport Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala has said the ministry intends to focus on the road sector targets in the last leg of Manifesto implementation, which he says is now performing at 78 percent.
Gen. Katumba while presenting the NRM 2016-2021 Manifesto score on Thursday, May 21, said the sector underperformed which he attributed to low funding.
He revealed that 27 road construction projects were completed, adding 1,584km to the paved national road network.
“This represents 78.2% achievement against the target of 2,025km.This included town roads along the major road projects implemented,” he said.
He, however, said construction of 15 road projects totaling over 1,000km is still on-going while procurement for the construction of 830km is in advanced stages and works will commence in FY 2020/21.
The minister further revealed that 503 km out of the commitment of 700km the national road network was rehabilitated.
“This represents 71.9% achievement,” he said.
Katumba said the ministry engaged in construction and renovation of bridges and 17 out of the 18 bridges were renovated including Source of the nile bridge, nyagak bridge in nebbi, manafwa bridge among others.
“41 out of the 112 bridges have been completed. This has been due to low funding levels. In addition; Construction works on 42 bridges are on-going and 17 bridges are under design,” he said.
He added “When we take the completed 41 bridges, those under construction and design  it is equivalent to 100 bridges out of 112 which will represent 89.3% when all are completed.
Katumba revealed that manifesto commitment was to maintain 2,500km of paved and 10,000km of unpaved roads adding that a total of UGX 1,614.63bn in FYs 2015/16-2018/19 was allocated to road maintenance.
“In FY 2019/20, the annual budget for road maintenance is UGX 437.816bn and URF has disbursed UGX 350.213bn by Q4 of FY 2019/20, to the Designated Agencies to undertake various road maintenance interventions,” said Katumba.
He, however, noted that the funding only meets 50% of the road maintenance needs.
“The Sector is in discussions with MoFPED to gradually increase funding for road maintenance. The annual road maintenance requirement has gradually increased from UGX 800Bn to UGX 1,200.0Bn. It is worth noting that an increase in number of kilometers of roads developed, calls for more investment (funds) in their maintenance as well,” he said.
Commenting on the air transport sector, the minsiter revealed that between 2011 and 2019, the international passengers grew from 1.13 million to 1.92 million passengers while the volume of cargo grew from 52,642 tons in 2009 to 63,357 tons in 2019.
He added that the growth required the upgrade of the airport, “The upgrade includes several components and the overall construction progress is at 70.21%.”
Katumba said 40.2% physical works for the development of Kabaale Airport (Phase 1) completed.
On the revival of the national airline, the Minister said Uganda National Airline Company was registered in January 2018 and recruitment for key personnel for the National Airline Company was undertaken.
“215 staff recruited out of which 171 are Ugandans across its network (this includes Pilots and first officers etc),” he said.
He said Uganda Airlines launched commercial operations in August 2019 flying to eight destinations Mogadishu, Juba, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Bujumbura, Kilimanjaro, Mombasa and Zanzibar.
According to the Minister, the Airline operated a total number of 2,862 flights in and out of Entebbe carrying a total number of 77,355 passengers.
“The Airline generated a total revenue of UGX 31.5 billion,” he said.
Katumba further revealed that the contract for construction of the standard guage railway was signed to prioritize the Eastern route un 2015 and in 2019, the contract was resigned which resulted to reduction of contract price frim USD 2.295bn to USD 2.17bn.
“Negotiations are on-going and the project was appraised by EXIM Bank of China. Compensation payment to Project Affected Persons (PAPs) is ongoing in 5 Districts out of 11 districts traversed by the Malaba-Kampala SGR Eastern route,” he said.
He further revealed that the total land compensation cost estimate in 2016 was UGX 534.2bn for 9,372 PAPs; 3,629 PAPs out of 9,372 assessed PAPs have been paid. “The total land paid for is 1,120 Acres (equivalent of 120km) out of 2,993 Acres.”
For water transport, Katumba said that engineering designs for both port bell and Jinja pier were completed.
“However, they will be reviewed following a decision by Government to develop Bukasa port.Thus, Port Bell will be developed as a passenger port, while Jinja Pier would be developed as a shipyard for Bukasa port,” he revealed.
According to the him, most of the targets under road and air transport are on course, however, performance under railway and inland water transport was below target.
“Under railway transport, performance was affected by the slow progress on the SGR and a setback in performance during the RVR concession. Under Inland water transport, the targets on procurement of ferries are on course whereas the targets for modernization of ports and rehabilitation of marine vessels were not on course,” he noted.
Katumba said the total Sector commitments in NRM Manifesto 2016-2021 were estimated at UGX 37,013.31bn against a Sector MTEF of UGX 25,172bn for the period 2016/17-2020/21, thus a funding gap of UGX 11,841bn.
He said one of the challenges among others faced by the ministry is Imbalance in budget between road development and road maintenance which breeds the risk of deteriorating the road assets developed.
“The annual road maintenance requirement is estimated at UGX 1,200.00bn, yet only UGX 527bn is provided in the budget. There is increased demand for new road development at the expense of maintenance of roads and road equipment,” he said.
He added that there’s inadequate financing of road and inland water transport safety measures as well as funding for the development of domestic aerodromes.
However, he revealed that in order to manage the challenges, the ministry put up some interventions such as embracing non-conventional modes of financing i.e. Contractor facilitated financing and Public Private Partnership to finance projects
He added that effective FY 2018/19, UNRA has a single project code for land acquisition which has introduced flexibility in allocating funds for land acquisition to projects which are progressing according to plan.
“To promote local content the Sector ensures that civil works below Ugx 45bn and consultancies not exceeding Ugx 1bn are competed for by the Local Contractors as the PPDA Regulations,” he said.
He noted that Implementation of a substantial number of the Manifesto commitments by the sector is on course.
“A number of commitments will be achieved by end of the Manifesto period when the required resources are provided,” said Katumba.