Spotlight: "Uganda's infrastructural problem is about maintenance"

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Experts have said Ugandans shall not see sustainable development without a special budget set for maintenance of infrastructure across the country.

These remarks were made during NBS TV's Spotlight e-conference where key sectoral leaders discussed Uganda's infrastructure and other issues. The conference aired on Monday, February 22.

Allen Kagina, the executive director Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) said the costs of maintaining infrastructure is very expensive therefore it should be a collective responsibility to ensure their life span.

"A road is an expensive item to construct however we must be able to construct roads that can last us enough to grow our economy and to generate even more income. If you invest money in a 15 year road, you will get a 15 year road and if you invest money in a 50 year road, you will get a 50 year road,"she said.

She explained that there is a challenge of the failure to balance development and maintenance of infrastructure adding that there is need to always check demands for tarmac and murum roads hence injecting money accordingly.

"If you send all the roads into development, you will be spending more money.Its very important for Ugandans to understand this. We must have more money to maintain what we have developed as well. Assets lose value if not maintained,"she said.

She enlisted a couple of things that need to be done to make our roads last for some good time which include proper maintenance among others.

"Don't abuse the roads. When we have overloaded trucks, the roads which should have lasted for15 years will last you perhaps 5 years," she said.

Kagina said the law requires that if one damages any part of a road, he or she should pay depending on the extent of the damage.

"In some cases, people lose their lives, and the government has to pay. Ugandans need to understand the importance of maintenance. I can't over emphasis the need for maintenance,"she said.

Gideon Badagawa, the executive director of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), said the problem of infrastructure in this country is not about availability but the maintenance.

"It pains me to see young people are burning tyres on a newly constructed road. This is our infrastructure. It should be able to add to our competitiveness. If we don't take care of the infrastructure, we are shooting ourselves in the foot,"he said.

He noted that as a country we need a reliable infrastructure for everyone because the money is spent on infrastructure to improve livelihoods of people and business performance.

"A budget has to be set aside for maintenance. Otherwise, we shall not see sustainable infrastructural development. There is a lot of progress being made in the infrastructural sector, of course, we are not yet there but we are steadily moving to where we should be,"he said.




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