December 7, 2021

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Service providers to boycott road works over Shs1.5bn debt

Road construction in Rubanda district

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Local road maintenance service providers are demanding an estimated Shs1.5 billion shillings from government for services provided.

The Minister of State for Works and Transport, Hon Musa Ecweru, said as a result, the service providers have advised the ministry that they will not offer additional services until the debt is cleared.

“The budget allocation for road equipment maintenance is now Shs16 billion against a maintenance requirement of Shs44.6 billion,” Ecweru said.

Ecweru made this revelation while  presenting a statement on the status of roads in the country during a plenary sitting on 19 October 2021. The sitting was chaired by Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah.

Ecweru said that there has been a recurring inadequate financing to meet the high demands for road development in the country.

“The roads prioritised to support the development of key sectors are approximately 5,000km. However, the resources available during the period are only adequate for upgrading 3,532km,” he said.

According to Ecweru, this inadequacy makes it impossible to meet the high demand for paved roads and has forced the government to prioritise investment in areas with the highest returns on investment.

“The prevailing pandemic has further exacerbated this problem by reducing the resources available for investment in the development and maintenance of road infrastructure,” said Ecweru.

The Minister added that there is  low participation of local contractors and consultants in the industry, especially for complex high value projects.

“The government has prioritised the development of the private sector under the private sector development programme,” he said.

He added that as of June 2021, all the class A roads were paved countrywide, saying that this makes it possible for travel on tarmac from any major border crossing which improves connectivity with major markets and sources of input.

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