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UNRA Walks Tight Rope as Cash Runs Out

UNRA workers clearing the debris of the Nyamukana landslide

Uganda National Road Authority (UNRA) is on the edge as the resource envelope dries up in the wake of accumulated debts and suspension of funding by development partners, viagra http://datedgear.com/wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/woocommerce.php Chimp Corps report.

UNRA receives funding for its recurrent expenditure and development from Government of Uganda (GoU) with the support of the donors.

This is used mainly for the design, rehabilitation and improvement of the paved roads and upgrading or construction of new roads.

In addition, UNRA obtains money from the Uganda Road Fund (URF) mainly for the maintenance of the road network.

All funds are released on a quarterly basis.

According to UNRA Executive Director, Allen Kagina, by close of the last financial year 2015/16, UNRA had a debt of Shs 259.3 billion, which was carried forward to this Financial Year 2016/17.

“This means that the budget for this financial year (FY) was short by an equal amount,” said Kagina, adding, “Payment of such outstanding debts take priority in the new FY and therefore immediately reduces the available budget.”

Kagina went ahead to observe that funding from the World Bank remained suspended, resulting into the reduction to the available budget for road development.

“The reducing budget yet the development programme keeps increasing has resulted in UNRA not being able to meet its obligations with respect to payments,” said Kagina.

“While some projects have run out of budget already, some have suffered delayed payments, attracting interest.”

The Fort Portal – Kamwenge road project was cancelled due to social and environmental issues; child labor, defilement, road safety and poor treatment of workers.

Talks between government and World Bank officials to restore the support are yet to bear fruit.

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija recently admitted that the previous UNRA management should have done better.

“The World Bank didn’t cut funding but rather suspended it due to the failure by the people in charge to implement contract requirements,” said Kasaija.

Absorption

According to Kagina, government has continued to finance the Kamwenge road project which has now reached physical progress of 85.5 percent. It is hoped that the project will be completed by March 2017.

In order for Government not to default on its obligations on the ongoing contract for Kyenjojo-Kabwoya upgrading project, payments have continued to be made from Government resources.

This constrains the progress of its other government-funded projects.

Kagina said UNRA has in the last five months absorbed all funds released as expected.

“However the current total bill on ongoing projects for which UNRA is unable to pay due to insufficient funds on the specific projects currently stands at Shs 109bn,” she added.

For the last two quarters (Q1 and Q2), funds for road maintenance have not been released as allocated, leaving this activity with a funding gap of Shs 44 billion (30 percent) to-date.

“We were able to undertake significant maintenance activities on the paved and unpaved road network. However, due to the limited funding, a significant part of the road network remains in fair with some of it in poor condition,” said Kagina.

“The insufficient funding for the maintenance of roads and bridges still remains a challenge and with the impending rains early next year, this remains a big risk to the efficiency of the network,” she emphasised.

The paved road stock has increased by approximately 116km while 88km of the paved roads have been rehabilitated in the last six months.

UNRA is now undertaking in-house Construction and Supervision of road projects.

This year, the department has supervised construction works along Moroto Town Roads, Koboko, Maracha town roads, Moroto –Nakapiripirit road, Kawempe-Kafu overlay.

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