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Road Fund to become operational 14 years late

Opendi challenged Kasaija to explain

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija has assured parliament that the Road Fund was going to be operationalized following a legal opinion provided by the Attorney General.

Kasaija’s statement follows a motion tabled by Tororo Woman MP, Sarah Opendi questioning why government was not providing money for maintaining roads under the Road Fund.

The Road Fund is provided for under Section 49, of the Uganda Road Fund Act and this has not been operationalized 14 years since the Act came into effect. The law requires the Minister of Finance to issue a statutory instrument operationalizing the Fund.

Now in his statement to parliament on Thursday afternoon, Minister Kasaija said that he had been advised by the Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka that money could be availed in other Funds aside from the Consolidated Fund.

The Attorney General’s opinion was in response to Kasaija’s letter seeking advise as to whether the existence of the Uganda Road Fund Act and the Tree Fund Act were in contravention of Article 153 of the Constitution.

Article 153 provides for the Consolidated Fund into which shall be paid all revenues or other monies raised or received for purpose of, or on behalf of the Government.

Tasked by Thomas Tayebwa, the deputy Speaker of Parliament whether all Funds provided for by Act of parliament would now be implemented following the opinion, Kasaija responded in the affirmative.

Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition says the issue is to prioritize and make sure that the different Funds are implemented because they are constitutional.

Nathan Byanyima, the Bukanga North MP said that it was unfortunate that roads are in a poor state despite the provision for a Road Fund under the law.

MP Opendi said that failure for the Minister of Finance to provide money has constrained the Uganda Road Fund to provide timely and reliable road maintenance.

Opendi demanded the operationalisation of the Fund as provided for under Section 49 of the Uganda Road Fund Act by the end of financial year 2021/2022.   She also demanded that the Minister immediately presents to parliament statutory instrument operationalising the Fund by June.

Following the submissions, the Deputy Speaker put a question on the motion by MP Opendi and it was adopted by Parliament.

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