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District leaders want review of Road Fund financial regulations

FILE PHOTO: Road construction

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | District leaders are demanding for review of the current regulations of the Road Fund to improve on financing of routine and periodic maintenance of public roads.

Government through the Uganda Road Fund-URF has since 2010, been facilitating routine and periodic maintenance of public roads in local government across the country. However, the chairpersons of the districts in the central region have expressed displeasure with the current model of financing of the URF, arguing that it frustrates timely delivery of services in local governments.

URF was established as a second generation fund, to operate as a subsidiary of the Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA.

During a review meeting held in Masaka on Monday, Jude Mbabaali, the Masaka LCV chairperson demands that government eliminates the bureaucracy of having URF funded through the UNRA and Ministry of Works.

Section 21 of the Uganda Road Fund of 2008, lists the URF’s sources of funding to include among others; road user charges, Parliament allocations, fuel levies, international transit fees collected from foreign vehicles entering the country, axle road fines, bridges and road tolls, road license fees, weight distance charges, fines under the Traffic and Road Safety Act which are meant to be directly remitted to the Fund on a monthly basis.

However, Mbabali argues that government has continuously ignored the provisions of the law and the funds channelled to the consolidated fund account in Bank of Uganda, where it is subjected to serious deductions hence underfunding of the URF.

Willy Lugoloobi, the Kalangala LCV chairperson says the failure to directly fund the Uganda Road Fund, coupled with underfunding and chronic budget cuts by Ministry of Finance is causing delays in delivery of roads maintenance services in local governments.

Lugoloobi and other leaders are now demanding for amendments into section 14 of the Uganda Revenue Authority ACT-1991, to eliminate the clause which requires all revenue collections by URA to be deposited in the consolidated fund account at Bank of Uganda.

But Joseph Jjuuko, the Lyantonde district Vice-Chairperson says that besides the petitions to either parliament or Attorney General, the leaders adopt the idea of directly reaching out to President to cause a reversal into the financing policy.

Engineer Michael Odongo, the Executive Director of Uganda Road Fund-URF has described the concerns as genuine however advising the leaders to support it with a formal petition to support their concerns.

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