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Delayed Road Fund Release Hampers Gulu Street Lights Repair

Christo Omara Balmoi, the Gulu City Engineer told URN in an interview that the City Council had earmarked 50 million to repair some of those broken solar street lights under the Uganda Road Fund in this financial year but that the delay in the release of the second quarter funding has frustrated their move since they had planned to start work mid last month.
Some of the broken solar street lights along Muroni Road in Pece -Laroo Division -Photo by Jesse Johnson James
Gulu City is still unable to repair all the broken solar street lights following the delay in the release of the second quarter of Uganda Road Fund.        

There are a total of 1,365 solar street lights installed along major roads within Gulu City but 200 out of those have broken down, leaving some places in darkness at night hence, being taken advantage of by criminal gangs to perpetrate vices like robbery, housebreaking, among others.            

Christo Omara Balmoi, the Gulu City Engineer told URN in an interview that the City Council had earmarked 50 million to repair some of those broken solar street lights under the Uganda Road Fund in this financial year but that the delay in the release of the second quarter funding has frustrated their move since they had planned to start work mid last month.          

Omara says they are still unable to advertise for bidders to do the work and start the procurement process of new solar street light batteries for replacement. The 50 million shillings Gulu City is to receive under the Uganda Road Fund can repair only about 30 solar street lights since each new battery is estimated to cost 1.5 million shillings, meaning, 167 street lights shall not be repaired.            

Omara revealed that Gulu City Council is planning to propose a supplementary budget from local revenue to repair more solar street lights before the end of this financial year.        

The failure of Gulu City to repair the broken solar street lights has caused an uproar from the general public who say the dark streets have become hiding places for the criminal gangs as they wait to attack their victims.            

Jino Otti, the LCI chairman of Industrial Area in Bardege –Layibi Division in Gulu City says dozens of solar street lights along the Ring Road and Salvatore Road in Industrial area are broken and that street gangs usually rob people along those dark streets at night.          

According to Otti, the City Council should also come up with measures to guard the solar batteries and panels against being vandalized.        

Meanwhile, on 25th October this year, Dr. Eng. Andrew Naimanye, the Executive Director of Uganda Road Fund disclosed that a total of 84.6 billion shillings was released to road fund agencies for the maintenance of public roads in quarter two of the 2021/2022 financial year.

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