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Road works constrained by Shs585 billion debt to contractors – Gen Katumba

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The Minister of Works and Transport, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, has told Parliament that road works across the country have been constrained by a Shs585 billion debt to contractors.  

“Yesterday [16 November], the Uganda National Roads Authority told the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises that we owe contractors Shs585 billion, and this has affected even emergency repairs,” said Katumba Wamala.

He was responding to the communication from the Speaker, Anita Among, who raised concern over the recurrent flooding of the Karuma-Pakwach Bridge during plenary sitting on Thursday, 17 November 2022.

“The problem is not that we do not want to repair the roads, but we do not have the money as yet. If we get the release, we shall fix the roads,” said Katumba Wamala.

Following the Speaker’s guidance, Katumba Wamala reported to the House that his counterpart in the tourism ministry had waived access fees through the Murchison Falls National Park to enable movement of travellers, goods and services as government finds a permanent solution to fix the bridge.  

The Speaker asked the minister to present a report on actions that have been taken on all the roads in the country.

Kinkizi County West MP James Niringiyimana, however, proposed that government should consider acquiring concessional loans to enable road works to continue.

“I remember the declaration by the President in 2017 when he wrote letters telling the Ministry of Works, UNRA and Ministry of Finance to work on roads which are critical to government. What happened to these letters?” he asked.

Zombo District Woman MP, Esther Afoyochan, called for special consideration for roads in West Nile, saying that the major roads in region are impassable.

“The President is expected in Zombo tomorrow [18 November] for the coronation anniversary. If he were to use the road, I am so sure he would never make it to Zombo. I am also hopeful that as he goes there tomorrow, we shall have clear information from him regarding this issue,” Katumba said.

Bukonjo County West MP Atkins Katusabe urged government to urgently intervene and fix the Karuma-Pakwach Bridge.

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