Government will have a total of 400km of national roads tarmacked in the next financial year.
According to the National Budget Framework Paper 2015/16 to 2019/2020, another 250km of national roads, which are paved, will be reconstructed or rehabilitated. This is an ambitious target for the sector if compared to the targets for 2014/15 financial year.
In the current year, the government targeted a total of 250km to be tarmacked. But by the end of the first quarter (July to September 2014), 64km had been finished. The paper pointed out that the kilometres to be tarmacked would come from the on-going projects and that no new projects would be started.
“Given the need to complete the on-going road projects, government will not take on any new projects next FY 2015/16, with the exception of Hoima-Wanseko road due to its strategic position in improving the transport network in the Albertine region,” the framework paper says.
“The budget for the FY 2015/16 will maintain the current level of funding to accelerate construction of these projects. Priority will be put on accelerating the construction and completion of on-going road projects and maintenance of the national, district, urban, community access road networks and numerous bridges across the country.”
The ongoing projects include the Kamwenge – Fort Portal road (65km), with only seven per cent of the works complete. Others are Gulu- Atiak (74km), Atiak – Nimule (35km), Vurra- Arua- Koboko - Oraba (92km) and Kampala – Entebbe expressway (51km). Government says it is projects like these that will take priority before committing to new ones.
However, the sector will still take the biggest chunk of the budget – 17 per cent, up from 16 per cent it was awarded in 2014/15. The sector will receive Shs 2.3tn of budget allocation, the same as what the sector received in 2014/15.
In 2015/16, Uganda will run on a Shs 18.3tn, a more than 20 per cent increment from last year’s Shs 15tn budget. Ugandans will cover 87 per cent (or Shs 15.6tn) of the budget. The rest will be covered by donors or be borrowed.
The theme for the financial year 2015/16 budget is Maintaining Infrastructure Investment and Promoting Excellence in Public Service Provision for Wealth Creation and Socio-Economic Transformation of Uganda’s Economy.
In the medium term, government targets the completion of the construction of the Kampala – Entebbe Expressway, and commencing works on Kampala - Jinja Expressway under the public private partnerships (PPPs) arrangement, the framework paper says.
“Improve the condition of national roads to tourists’ attraction sites and the Albertine graben to facilitate the exploration and evacuation of oil. Implement road projects to facilitate the primary growth sectors (oil and gas, tourism and agriculture).”
Also, the construction of the second Nile bridge at Jinja and design of a new bridge across the Nile at Karuma will commence. In 2014/15, the paper says, government improved the road condition of the national unpaved road network from 64 per cent in 2012 to 67 per cent, national paved road network from 74 per cent in 2011 to 80 per cent in 2014.