New Transport Policy to Curb Road Accidents, Vandalism

The new policy aims at providing “reliable, safe, efficient and effective transport infrastructure and services that benefit all people and contribute to the social and economic development of the country.”

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The Ministry of Works and Transports has said that the new national transport policy will help curb the rampant road accidents, encroachment on and theft of road and rail assets.

The policy that was passed by Cabinet now awaiting mass printing and distribution to the public for sensitization aims at providing “reliable, safe, efficient and effective transport infrastructure and services that benefit all people and contribute to the social and economic development of the country.” 

The policy, according to the ministry amalgamates all previous policies that were each developed to target a specific mode of Transport, and is expected to create a safe, accessible and sustainable multi modal transport system, for the country’s competitiveness. 

It also aims at promoting research in new and more convenient technologies in the sector, and also support local content by making it easier for indigenous companies to compete for contracts.

Currently, transport is so disintegrated, which makes it costly, slow and inconvenient, for example, there is no water transport connection between Entebbe and Jinja despite both cities being on the shores of Lake Victoria.  It, therefore, takes two to three and a half hours by road through Kampala instead of one by boat.   

General Edward Katumba Wamala, the Minister of Works and Transport says the government’s direct interventions will not stop at investing in Uganda Airlines but will diversify into other services, even if the funds won’t allow implementation at once. 

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The policy also aims at tackling vandalism of transport infrastructure especially for roads and railways, which is one of the challenges currently faced. 

Currently, there are efforts to reclaim road reserves and railway corridors and other assets that have been taken over with time either through encroachment or fraudulent sale by officials. 

Some encroachers are even demanding compensation before they vacate the properties, but Wamala says the policy will handle them and also prevent future violations.   

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Most of the road and other big construction projects are handled by foreign companies mainly because the local contractors are limited either by way of capital or technology or both. 

The government through Uganda National Roads Authority, UNRA is currently implementing a policy that gives local contractors more priority in contracting out maintenance services, and according to its report, a third of such contracts were handled by local companies last year. 

Now, the new policy provides that the government will not stop at that, but will ensure cooperation between foreign and local companies to support technology transfer. 

Currently, “local company” also refers to companies that have been in the country for a long period even though their owners are foreign.

But Gen Wamala says the new policy makes a difference between companies owned by Ugandan nationals. 

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The policy was also drawn to respond to the poor state of transport infrastructure in urban areas, which is characterized by dilapidated roads.  The situation is usually blamed on the low funding that the urban authorities get which is not enough to do better. 

The plan is to also cater for persons with disabilities because currently the infrastructure and transport services available do not cater for them.

Also, key in the policy is tackling the high rate of road accidents and deaths, with the country’s transport industry system named among the most dangerous due to the high number of deaths. 

Gen. Wamala says in ten years, this should be cut by a huge percentage. 

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