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The Ugandan government has increased its budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Works and Transport from UGX 1.29 billion (US$525,252) to UGX 1.65 billion (US$660,000) in the past financial year in an attempt to improve the country’s road network
The minister of finance and economic planning, Maria Kiwanuka, stated in her 2012/13 budget presentation that priorities in the road sector included the rehabilitation and expansion of the road network, a special emphasis on roads in agricultural areas and export routes, and developing alternative access routes to the sea through both the southern and northern corridors.
“The government will lower high vehicle operating costs and reduce time delays by improving the national road transport network,” said Kiwanuka.
The minister said the allocation would enable construction to continue on a number of roads including the 104km Fort Portal-Bundibugyo route, the 116km Busega-Masaka road, the 143km Nyakahita-Kazo-Kamwenge route and the 166km road between Kawempe and Kafu.
Construction will also start on the 51km Kampala-Entebbe, the 93km Moroto-Nakapiripirit expressways and the 40km Mbarara Bypass, as well as on the duelling of the Kampala Northern Bypass, and the upgrading of the 66km Kamwenge Fort Portal and the 35km Atiak-Nimule road.
Kiwanuka told parliament that the government was in the advanced stages of finalising funding for a number of priority road projects, which include the 167km Olwiyo-Gulu-Kitgum route, the 92km Moroto-Nakapiripirit road, the 193km Muyembe-Nakapiripirit/Moroto-Kotido road and the 193km Soroti-Katakwi-Moroto-Kotido route.
The government will also commence work on a number of bridges across the country, which includes the construction of the second Nile bridge at Jinja in eastern Uganda and the complete rehabilitation of Nalubaale-Kiira bridge, as well as repairs to other bridges in northern and north-eastern Uganda.
President Yoweri Museveni recently presided over the first batch of equipment to enter the country for the work on the country’s road network, including 159 graders, 257 tipper trucks, 12 wheel loaders, six dozers, seven excavators and two loaders.
These machine form part of a total of 1,400 units to be procured under a Chinese US$100 million concessional loan extended to Uganda, payable within 40 years with a 10-year grace period.
“In order to enhance road maintenance and rehabilitation at the district level, 142 units of road equipment have been procured for local governments and we expect that this equipment will ensure prompt and efficient road maintenance,” Kiwanuka added.