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Kitgum Municipal Officials Call for Increase of Road Fund Budget

Kitgum Municipal Council Mayor, Richard Ojara Okwera says the Municipality has only 10 kms of tarmac roads which were provided by the government two years ago adding that the rest of the road networks are gravel.
A grader operator uproots a tree trunk at Kitgum District Local Government Headquarters recently. Kitgum Municipal Council officials say they lack road construction equipment.

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Kitgum Municipal Council Officials have asked the government to increase the road fund budget to boost road maintenance and rehabilitation works.

The municipality receives approximately 600 million shillings annually for road maintenance and rehabilitation from the government under the Uganda Road Fund-URF.

Uganda Road Fund (URF) was established by an Act of Parliament in 2008 with the objective of financing routine and periodic maintenance of public roads in Uganda from mainly reserved road user charges.

But officials say the fund allocated annually is insufficient to support the upgrade of major road networks within the Municipality from gravel to bitumen and asphalt standard.

Kitgum Municipal Council Mayor, Richard Ojara Okwera says the Municipality has only 10 km of tarmac roads which were provided by the government two years ago adding that the rest of the road networks are gravel.

He says the insufficient funds which are allocated quarterly have hindered the Municipal Council's plans to open more standard roads to spur development.

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Okwera also notes that the Municipal Council lacks road construction equipment such as graders, bulldozers, and tipper trucks which have further affected road openings.

According to Okwera, the last road equipment the Municipality had was a tractor donated in 2006 by the Local Government which is currently down.

He says the Municipal Council spends a huge amount of money to hire road equipment since it’s hard to secure the government’s road equipment at Kitgum District Local Government which are in constant use.

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The State Minister for Local Government, Victoria Rusoke Busingye says that the road fund was budget has reduced. She says the reduction was a result of budget cuts across all Ministries driven by the Coronavirus disease pandemic and the government’s priorities.

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Busingye however says the Municipalities and districts receiving the road fund should make proper planning for rehabilitation and maintenance of few roads instead of budgeting for many kilometres of roads.

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Kitgum Municipality is also currently benefitting from the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development-USMID programme, a World Bank-funded project that will see infrastructural development within the urban centres.

Already the construction of 2.89 km of roads under the USMID project costing shillings 16.1 billion has been commissioned and will cover seven roads in the divisions of Pandwong and Central. It will be undertaken by China Railway 18 Bureau Group Co. Ltd.