Members of Parliament from the WestNile region yesterday met with the leadership of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) leadership team and they discussed the status of road infrastructure in the region.
In the discussion, the Members of Parliament endorsed UNRA in its role of accelerating government’s overall programme of establishing and maintaining road infrastructure to support social economic transformation.
In her opening remarks, UNRA executive director, Allen Kagina welcomed the MPs to UNRA.
“We are steadfast in our resolve to connect Uganda with superior roads and bridges specifically, the West Nile region,” she said.
“We are the lifeline of the Ugandan economy, and we are proud of the significant growth across all the sectors that we have enabled through the superior road network across the nation,” she said.
Led by Atima Jackson, MP Arua City and Regional Whip, the MPs from the 13 districts that make up the West Nile region received an update on the various road construction and upgrading programmes that are being undertaken by UNRA.
“West Nile region is experiencing an exponential rise in trade with South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, we therefore need a consistently maintained road network. We thank UNRA for the job they have done so far, and call upon them to ensure the prosperity of the region through good roads,” Atima said.
Eng. Joseph Otim, Director Road Maintenance, shared that by the end of the financial year 2021/2022, a total of 910km will have undergone repair and upgrade works.
These include Arua – Nebbi (76km), Nebbi – Pakwach (54.3km0, Manibe – Koboko (50km) to mention but afew.
Otim appealed to the MPs to support UNRA in ensuring appropriation of adequate funds to carry out road maintenance.
“As an example, in the first quarter of FY 2021/2022, we requested for Shs 80 billion, however what was provided to UNRA was Shs 46 billion, this has limited the work we can undertake,,” Otim said.
During the open discussion, the MPs requested UNRA to take over the district roads especially in Yumbe, which currently hosts the largest refugee camp on Uganda, and 2nd largest in Africa.
“The roads in Yumbe have been overwhelmed by the increased motorized traffic related to the management of the Bidi Bidi camp, this road should be accorded the same priority as oil roads,” said James Baba, MP Koboko.
Tom Alero, the MP for West Moyo said West Nile has been abandoned and forgotten by the government.
“We demand more allocation of the national road budget. We host so many refugees and have transit roads to two countries, South Sudan and DRC. UNRA should increase the road connections in this region,” said Alero.
During the meeting, it was resolved that another meeting would be organised under the Office of the Prime Minister, with attendance from Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and Ministry of Works and Transport to resolve concerns under their docket that were raised in the meeting.