On Wednesday, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) released half-year performance and transformation highlights for the first six (6) Months of the Financial Year (FY) of 2019/2020 and the overall transformation trends.
UNRA executive director Allen Kagina told press in Kampala that the authority is currently upgrading 23 road projects (new construction and upgrading from gravel to paved bituminous standards) covering a total distance 1,581.7Km (Refer to the project status report).
From July-Dec 2019, 204km equivalents were achieved. This represents over 50% achievement of the annual physical performance target of 400km equivalent in half the year period.
During the first Half of this FY, upgrading of Soroti-Katakwi-Aksim (100km) was substantially completed, adding 100km to the paved road stock.
Five (5) roads are planned to be substantially completed by the end of this FY, adding 417km to the stock of the paved road network.
Road upgrade projects delivered
She said 26 road upgrade projects equivalent to 1,131 km have been completed between 2016 and June 2019 (3 years 6 months), as compared to 17 projects equivalent to 998 km completed in 8 years from 2008 to 2015.
By the end of Financial Year (FY) 2018/19, the paved stock (completed upgrade projects in km) had grown to 4,971km equivalent to 24% of the road network as shown in the table below;
Road rehabilitation and reconstruction
Under this reporting period, rehabilitation and reconstruction of 346.5km of the national roads to reinstate their serviceability continued and the projects are at different advanced stages as shown in table below.
This reporting period, 173km equivalents were rehabilitated, which represents 100% achievement for the half year target.
The rehabilitation of Fort Portal- Kyenjojo road was substantially completed during the reporting period.
UNRA continued to work on several bridges whose progress is at different stages.
Five bridges are expected to be substantially completed by the end of this FY.
According to Kagina, Nine (9) ferries at Kiyindi, Mbulamuti, Masindi Port, Laropi, Obongi, Kyoga 1, Kyoga 2, Nakiwogo and Bisina are fully operational and all delivering the scheduled trips.
“This FY, Sigulu Ferry that will connect Namayingo district to the Islands of Lolwe & Sigulu, is awaiting commissioning after it was fully assembled and trials conducted,” she told press.
She said the vessel will provide safe means of transport to the communities of Namayingo, Lolwe and Sigulu Islands.
Level of compliance to published ferries schedules (Av. Ferry utilization) was 96.5 % above the targeted 95%.
Ferry Operations have experienced increase in traffic over the last 3 years.
Compared to previous years, there has been 23% growth in passengers due to increase in number of trips and availability of the Ferry Services.
Vehicle load control
The total number of vehicles weighed was 757,084 in the last 6 months.
The percentage of weighed vehicles that were overloaded slightly decreased from 3.8% to 3.7%.
The Enforcement Team has the responsibility of securing the Right of Way (ROW), protecting road reserves along National Roads and enforcing compliance with vehicle load control regulations using mobile weighbridges.
The Enforcement Team is also responsible for protecting road furniture and enforcing compliance with any other aspects as may be required from time to time.
Kagina said over the past 5 years UNRA has continued to deliver against its performance targets.
UNRA is implementing the reservation schemes for promotion of local content in line with PPDA guidelines.
“We are fully enforcing the reservation schemes by threshold for all road construction works below UGX 45 billion are awarded to local and resident providers,” she said.
“Further to this, for all eligible contracts (other than the donor funded projects), we have included clauses for sub-contracting 30% of the works to local and/or resident providers.”
Because of the above, all road mechanized and periodic maintenance is contracted to local contractors.
“We also expect local and / or resident providers to wholly benefit from the swamp drainage improvements and low volume roads seals contracts as these will be packaged to fall within the thresholds for local firms.”
UNRA is also applying margins of preference (7%) for works by Ugandan contractors hence increasing the competitive advantage of local contractors against foreign contractors.
The roads body is packaging of contracts so as to fall within the threshold of local firms and waiving of the qualification requirement for experience of certain aspects of works for which local firms have limited experience or exposure e.g. surface dressing works.
In the last two financial years 2017/18 and 2018/19, 24% (worth UGX 1,064 billion) and 28% (worth UGX 737 billion) respectively, of all the contracts signed by UNRA were awarded to local and / or resident providers.
However, Kagina cited challenges ranging from limited capacity especially for financing and equipment among local contractors and lack of regulations to implement the local content guidelines.
She said this leads to local contractors at times getting unfair sub-contracts from the international bidders.
The National Road Network Program has 1,715km projects that will be coming on board for upgrading.
These are currently ongoing and/ or in procurement.
“We also have ongoing Rehabilitation Projects in procurement that will rehabilitate 1027.3km of the road network.”
There are six (6) upcoming ferries to be added to the Ferry Services fleet.
“We adding 05 multi deck weighbridges onto the road network namely Magamaga, Mubende, Mbale, Kamdini and Kamego and installation is expected in June 2020 as well as, three (3) high speed weigh in motion systems namely Luwero, Mbarara and Magamaga.”
Three border post Weigh Stations at Mutukula, Elegu and Malaba are now operational.