Kampala, Uganda | IAN KATUSIIME | Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) will spend Shs122billion on operations and maintenance of the Kampala Entebbe Expressway, the roads agency revealed at its annual performance briefing on Sept. 9 at its offices in Kyambogo, Kampala.
The Operation and Maintenance service provider commenced work in the year of reporting, having been delayed by the disputes among the bidders. “However, PPDA having concluded and dispensed off all the complaints, UNRA was able to award the contract, through International Competitive Bidding process, to Egis from France, to undertake the 5 year Operations and Maintenance of the Kampala–Entebbe Expressway,” the UNRA executive director Allen Kagina said in a statement.
This was premised on the need for international expertise in toll collection systems technology and asset management that are not yet available with the local providers. The scope of the contract covers the following: Lighting of the Expressway from Busega to Mpala, installation of toll collection system and overload control system; Installation of Independent traffic Monitoring system; Tolling Operations and Toll Collection.
Oil road projects
Kagina said UNRA will also embark on critical oil road projects in the current financial year. These include Critical Oil Roads Package 4: Lusalira-Nkonge-Lumegere and Lumegere-Ssembabule (97Km); Critical oil Roads package 6A: Design and build for the Upgrading of Kabwoya-Buhuka Road (43Km); Critical oil Roads package 6B: Design and build for the Upgrading of Karugutu – Ntoroko Road (56.5km), Link to Rwebisengo (8.2km) and 3.3km of Town Roads in Ntoroko.
Kagina also cited UNRA challenges such as: the financing for the road development programme remains constrained and not in harmony with the five-year plan.
UNRA closed the year with a debt of UGX 215Bn on the Government of Uganda-financed projects.
The arrears and limited financing distorts efforts to successfully achieve NDPIII objectives; A rigid Public Finance Management Act which does not allow flexibility in utilisation of funds to drive the development programme; The road maintenance budget remains lower than the required, which makes providing the desired level of service and response to emergencies which result in network cut-offs a challenge and reduced ferry services; UNRA’s operational budget has remained inadequate and the same over the years, despite the increase in the development and maintenance programme, the increase in operation and administrative costs and the increase in staff numbers. This has constrained the ability of the organisation to effectively supervise its programmes.