Heads of roads agencies in East Africa have convened in Kampala for the first time to discuss partnerships and benchmark best practice. This they believe will improve efficiency in the roads and infrastructure which is key in the region’s economic development.
The Executive Director Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Allen Kagina initiated the forum as part of her commitment to scale up UNRA’s delivery capacity as well as facilitate better coordination.
Both Eng. Patrick Nfugale the CEO Tanzania Roads Agency (TanRoads) and Eng. Peter Mundinia who heads Kenya National Highways Agency (KenHA) took part in the inaugural forum which was held at Kampala Serena Hotel on Thursday.
While opening the conference, approved http://cultnews.com/wp-admin/includes/ms-deprecated.php Kagina said; “This forum will enable us share experiences and strengthen our resolve for greater efficiency. With better coordination, sales a lot can be achieved.”
She mentioned that Eastern African countries should capitalize on their similar challenges and opportunities to build a stronger road network.
“As road agencies in East Africa, we manage about 200,000kms of roads but of these, only 50,000kms are so far paved. This forum has so much to do if our people are to get the services they require,” she added.
During the discussions, it emerged that inadequate funding is a major challenge shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Other inefficiencies include; poor contract management, maintenance backlog, rampant road accidents and overloading.
Tanzania’s Eng. Nfugale advised UNRA against tolerating contractors who request for contract variations which results into inflated costs. He said that TanRoads also uses annual performance agreements and daily audits to ensure that there’s value for money for road projects.
“We have also introduced a system where the contractor must manage the road for another 10 years after its construction. This way, if they did shoddy work, they’ll shoulder the costs of repairing defects.”
In the case of Kenya, Eng. Peter Mundinia of Kenya National Highway Agency revealed that risk assessment before the commencement of any road project has helped reduce windows of variations. As an alternative to weigh bridges which often delay cargo freight, Kenya has introduced weigh-in-motion devices along the northern corridor.
The three agencies agreed to share information on blacklisted contractors amongst themselves to prevent cases of poor quality work. Chinese firms were singled out as often dragging road projects due to poor planning, slow mobilization and having inadequate personnel.