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Works Ministry Downplays Impact of Disbanding TLB, Road Safety Council

The Works Ministry Permanent Secretary, Waiswa Bageya has downplayed the repeal of the Transport Licensing Board-TLB and National Road Safety Council-NRSC. He says the new law has instead empowered the Department of Transport Regulation and Safety as the competent authority.
Taxis in the Kampala Old Taxi Park

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The Ministry of Works and Transport has downplayed the impending disbandment of the Transport Licensing Board-TLB and National Road Safety Council-NRSC.  Parliament passed the Traffic and Road Safety Act 1998 (Amendment) Bill, 2019 lack, which among other proposals provides for the disbandment of TLB and NRSC. Both agencies play advisory roles in the Works ministry.   

 

The move stems from a cabinet directive in 2018 on rationalisation of Ministries, Departments and Agencies for effective public expenditure and service delivery. According to the 2014 Uganda Road Safety Policy, government was expected to set up a National Road Safety Authority as the lead agency at the national level to oversee and coordinate road safety programs.     

The Works Ministry Permanent Secretary, Waiswa Bageya has downplayed the repeal of the Transport Licensing Board-TLB and National Road Safety Council-NRSC. He says the new law has instead empowered the Department of Transport Regulation and Safety as the competent authority.  

The Department will among others issue driving licenses, conduct vehicle inspections and enforce road safety in Uganda.  The department is currently led by the Commissioner Transport Regulation and Safety who is also the Chief Licensing Officer.  

The department comprises licensing, inspection and safety officers who have been working under the NRSC or TLB.   They are about 37 in number, including the NRSC and TLB Board Secretaries who are employees of the Works Ministry. Bageya says that repealing TLB and NRSC will only eliminate the executive boards and that the technical officers will work in the empowered Department.        

Bageya told Uganda Radio Network-URN in a telephone interview that the Ministry is consulting with various stakeholders including Uganda Police and Uganda Revenue Authority in order to set up and beef the human resource for the Department.      

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Barbara Mwanje is the NRSC board chairperson while the Board Secretary is Ronald Amanyire. Mwanje, who is a road safety activist, concurs with Bageya, saying the employees of NRSC and TLB are under the Works Ministry and "will continue with their roles uninterrupted".     

"It is the advisory function that has been removed. In every sense this is business as usual as already both entities fall under the department of transport regulations. The new thing is that the department is now provided as the competent authority," Mwanje adds.  

Mwanje says that that the key thing now, is to ensure that the competent authority has the resource and capacity to implement its mandate. The TLB Board Chairperson, Godfrey Onyango, said government must have done due to diligence before it came up with the decision to disband the Board.  

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He however thinks that the ministry will have to restructure staff in the bid to equip the department.              

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TLB issued 30,000 licenses for operators of public service vehicles mainly taxis and buses Between July 2018 to June 2019. Some of the technical officers who spoke to URN say that they are convinced that as employees of the ministry, they are not affected by the proposed repeal of TLB and NRSC.

Bageya also says that the new law comes at a time when the tenure of the TLB and NRSC board members of expiring, adding that there will be no financial implications such as compensating members upon enactment of the law.  The tenure of TLB ended last Friday while that of NRSC will end before March this year.  

Bageya says the minister will most likely extend the tenure of both advisory boards for about 3-6 months to avoid creating a vacuum.   

   

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