By Gorret Kajumba
The road fund has a duty to finance the implementation of the Annual Road Maintenance Programmes (ARMP) that are carried out by the Uganda National Roads Authority(UNRA), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the other designated agencies responsible for District, Urban and Community Access Roads.
However, here is a story to tell how the reduction of road fund has greatly affected better infrastructural service delivery in the local government units of Kabarole and Kyenjojo districts.
Mr. David Kiiza Rwamwaro, the Mayor for Mugusu town council, says that after their road fund was reduced from shillings 12.5million to only 5million quarterly, they have failed to work on some of the roads in the town council.
Rwamwaro said that in the previous years before covid-19, the town council used to receive shillings 50M annually but now the funds reduced to 20M shillings which he says was too small compared to what is supposed to be done. He said that the shillings 5million allocated to them in every quarter, they are tasked to paying 1.35million to road gangs on a monthly basis and the town council remains with only 950,000 shillings to run other infrastructural activities.
He also revealed that the local revenue collection was affected by ciovid-19 restrictions as market tendering used to be 27million per quarter and now it is at 3millions quarterly of which they have to use some of the money on garbage management and maintaining the cleanliness of the town council.
However, Mr. Rwamwaro said that they have opted to soliciting funds by engaging other stakeholders including the ministry of local government.
The LC3 chairperson Kabende sub county, James Katusabe also revealed that they used to receive 6.5M shillings road funds but this financial year they have received 3M shillings which cannot even work on one road.
Katusabe added that Kabende sub county depends on farming for local revenue and household income but due to the bad state of the roads even the prices of their agricultural produce has lowered down and farmers have no means to transport their produce to the market.
Musumba Godfrey LC3 Harugongo Sub County said that as a sub county they received 8M shillings of which it cannot work the roads to the standard residents expect their roads to be; adding that residents are putting local leaders on pressure to marrum their roads without knowing the challenges they are facing to grade those roads.
He added that they are working on Harugongo- Kakundwa-Rwengaju under the project of Local Economic Growth Support [LEGS]; this road helps people to access health facilities, Harugongo primary school and to the market.
He disclosed that as Sub County they just work on roads that give access to the people; he asked the government to increase the road funds so as to work on roads that sustain the three as local people.
Mr. Kahuzo Erikana chairperson LC3 Karangura Sub County said that every financial year the sub county receives 6 million shillings allocated on every road of which it is too little compared to the expenses.
Kahuzo said that due to lack of road funds, they have decided to do manual labor as they cannot hire excavators and other required construction vehicles.
The acting Sub-county Chief of Karangura Mrs. Ankunda Brenda said that due to the hilly geographic setting of the area rains easily destroy roads and they are facing a challenge with the communities as they do not want to maintain their roads after being worked by the government and they think that they have taken the roads and yet every financial year they have to focus on another issue in the district.
However, District Chairperson Kabarole Mr. Richard Rwabuhinga demands Members of parliament to increase budget for road construction and maintenance to enable districts to extend better services to citizens.
According to Rwabuhinga, the district receives inadequate funds which cannot enable them to purchase murrum and insert on roads. He adds that with the limited funds, they only do periodic grading and shaping which makes the road impassable during the rainy season.
Rwabuhinga who doubles as the Chairperson of all LCVs in Rwenzori was speaking at the Launch of a 7.4km Harugongo-Kakundwa- Rwengaju road in Kabarole district.
In the same development, Gilbert Rubaihayo the LCV Chairperson for Kyenjojo district also reported the same challenge where the district road fund was reduced for the whole financial year to a quarter of the money they are supposed to get.
He added that in the last quarter they were supposed to get 250m but they instead received 87m and in this quarter, they have received 260m and instead received 67m which includes allowances, fuel and repairs which is very small to cater for all
With this therefore, he called on the public to be patient and work together with the district leadership in ensuring good service delivery.