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MPs Approve Special Budget to Fix Roads Affected by Heavy Rains

Uganda received heavy rains in the last quarter of 2019, resulting in massive damage on roads and bridges, among other areas. Many of the roads became impassable as culverts were swept away, surfaces caved in and rivers burst their banks, especially in the districts of Mbale, Jinja, Masaka and Pakwach, among others.

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The budget committee of Parliament has approved a request to allocate 168 billion Shillings for the maintenance of roads that were affected by the 2019 heavy rains, across the country.   The funds will be provided for in the financial year 2020/2021.  

Uganda received heavy rains in the last quarter of 2019, resulting in massive damage on roads and bridges, among other areas. Many of the roads became impassable as culverts were swept away, surfaces caved in and rivers burst their banks, especially in the districts of Mbale, Jinja, Masaka and Pakwach, among others. 

The chairman of the Physical infrastructure committee of Parliament Robert Ssekitoleeko says that the sector needs funding to fix the roads in three phases- those that need immediate, short term or medium term action. Initial requests for supplementary funding yielded no results. 

The breakdown of the budget indicates that it will be released to three votes; 74 billion Shillings to Uganda Road Fund, 32 billion Shillings to the Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA and 28 billion Shillings to works ministry.  The funding to the ministry is to procure and stock emergency response items such as metallic pipe culverts and bailey bridges.   

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However, the budget committee members asked why the sector did not request the government to release money from the Contingency Fund to support agencies in carrying out emergency road works.  Parliament approved and allocated 64 billion Shillings in the 2019/2020 financial year, which budget committee Chairperson Amos Lugoloobi says should have been dispersed for emergency road works. 

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Ssekitoleeko, however, argued that the 64 billion Shillings in the Contingency Fund was insufficient for the three votes to respond to the emergencies.  He added that although the works ministry requested for 81 billion Shillings, the cabinet could only release 39 billion Shillings for emergency road works.

 

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In December, the Disaster Protection Officer at Office of the Prime Minister, Emmanuel Okecho was quoted by international news agency, RFI as saying that the rains were the heaviest Uganda had received in over 25 years. He added that the floods were worse than those in 2010 because it had been raining at least constantly for two months.  

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