KAMPALA – Members of Parliament have asked the Government to extend the road network to hard-to-reach areas and repair damaged roads and bridges around the country.
The MPs sitting on the Committee on Equal Opportunities raised the concerns while meeting officials from the Works and Transport Ministry led by State Minister Hon. Henry Bagiire on Tuesday, August 13, 2019.
The legislators said that the limited road coverage makes it hard for economic progress and limits access to health facilities.
“What plans do you have to work on roads and bridges that have been cut off? These bridges support businesses and help people to access hospitals, which has not been the case lately,” says Hon. Christopher Kipterit, Independent MP of Upe County.
Tochi County MP, Hon. Peter Okot said that the road construction equipment given to districts is not serving its purpose stalling the road works and repairs.
“The tractors and graders are there but most of them are grounded, not because they have mechanical problems, but because there is no fuel and manpower to run them,” Okot said.
Okot also tasked the Minister to explain why there were no professionals to operate the road construction equipment at the districts.
“What support training are you giving these operators? In Omoro, the roads are done but have no drainage; so how long will such roads last?” Okot asked.
Bagiire told the Committee that the Ministry asked districts to send operators who were trained in Luweero, Mbarara, Gulu and Jinja districts, to give them skills to man the road construction equipment.
“We have gone into partnership with development partners to set up a school in Luweero to train people and give them certificates as professional operators,” Bagiire said.
He, however, added that some of the already trained personnel were not the ones operating the road equipment, and asked the MPs to weigh in on local governments to utilise the trained human resource.
The Committee chairperson, Hon. Hellen Asamo tasked the Minister to present a concrete budget plan to the committee which can be followed up to provide funds to increase the road network.
“We need that concrete plan so that in every financial year we can easily track the roads that are going to be worked on. You can also spread the plan over the coming financial years so that we do not call you back on the same roads,” Asamo said.
Bagiire also told MPs that Government was on-course to set up stone quarries across the country through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) so as to produce standard material that would check on the high charges of construction costs by private construction firms.