Parliament has passed the Roads Bill 2018 that will see motorists start paying to use some roads around the country.
The bill provides for among others, the prescription of tolls for toll roads that may be put in place by the Minister for Works and Transport by a statutory instrument and in consultation with the Minister for Finance.
“A toll prescribed under subsection (1) shall be a charge levied on a vehicle using a toll road for the purpose of recovering the cost of construction, operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of the road,” reads the Bill in part.
Its adds that the charge levied on a vehicle shall be done in accordance with the classification of vehicles set out in Schedule 6, that breaks down the types of vehicles that are liable to paying toll fees.
Parliament on Thursday, 16 May 2019 approved amendments to a number of clauses and schedules in the Bill that include among others the declaration of a toll road, the prescription of tolls, the payment of road tolls, toll revenue, public-private partnerships and shadow tolling.
The chairperson of the Physical Infrastructure Committee, Hon. Kafeero Ssekitoleko said that the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) would be responsible for the effective functioning of road tolls.
“A road authority [UNRA] may, in accordance with the Public Private Partnerships Act, 2015, enter into public private partnership agreement with a toll operator or concessionaire to collect toll revenue or to manage the account…” reads the Bill.
“The vital role played by roads in enhancing the country’s economic development necessitates new financing methods to increase funding for construction, operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of the infrastructure,” Kafeero Sekitoleko said.
Kafeero Sekitoleko added that Government will be able to repay the private capital by charging tolls on roads, which would be paid by all road users.
The law however, provides for exemption of emergency vehicles of the fire brigade and ambulances, the presidential convoy and vehicles belonging to the military, police and other security forces on emergency duty from paying road toll fees.
The bill also provides for punishment for persons who may destroy road furniture or burn any substance that can damage a public road, with a fine of up to shs 480, 000 or one year in prison, or both.
The passing of the bill will lead to implementation of the tolls on the Kampala-Entebbe expressway.
The Kampala-Entebbe expressway is currently Uganda’s only toll road with a total of three main toll plazas that boast a total of 16 toll gates.