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Mbarara city is stuck with impassable roads due to a lack of road funds.

Joshua Nahamya

Mbarara

Mbarara City condemns the central government for releasing no funds in the third quarter of the financial year 2023/2024 to rehabilitate the roads in the area.

According to Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi, the city applied for a total of Shs 101,317,765 rehabilitation grant from the Ministry of Works and Transport but surprisingly the expectant works committee received no money for the third quarter on road maintenance

“As you are aware the city did not receive quarter three funds from Uganda road fund hence finding it difficult in charging administrative costs under rehabilitation grant,” Kakyebezi said

Some of the dilapidated roads compromising service delivery in Mbarara city include; Misho-Kikadde Road, Rwobuyenje-Kinyaza Road, Ntare Road, Kamatarisi-Kyarukofu Road, Ruti-Katojo-Kibingo-KarugyembeRwemigina road, Rwagaju-Kishasha-Kakoma road among others

“People who have been making noise about the poor roads in the city I want to confirm to you that works that were planned for Q3 under URF will not be implemented and of course, it affects service delivery,” Kakyebezi said

He said that “the reduction of the money for the road fund has affected us as a city and particularly the works committee”.

“If the government keeps on reducing the road fund money, automatically service delivery in terms of road construction will eventually turn into a political issue and people will demonstrate which will paint a bad picture and people will hate the government” Kakyebezi explained

He said that the government has just allocated 500 mln that will be received in the next financial year to work on the temporary Katete Bridge which is also in a sorry state.

“The Ministry of Works and Transport has informed us that they are considering giving us 500 mln next financial year to work on Katete Bridge but as we talk we don’t have anything to put on that bridge,” Kakyebezi said

Bonny Tashobya Karutsya, speaker of Mbarara city said districts, cities, and municipalities were supposed to receive 1 bln for road works that have not been implemented in the third quarter thus affecting road works in the local governments.

“The president had pledged to give each district or city 1 bln but the documents returned indicating zero shillings. And Mbarara district which used to receive 2.2 bln shillings was only given 13 mln” Tashobya said

Jomo Mugabe, city division mayor of Mbarara City South reported “As we talk now there is an emergency at Rwarire-Kibona road, people are demonstrating but we don’t have a single coin to work on the road”.

“For example we lost two people in Rwarire but locals don’t have access to go for the burial I had to go to the city engineer but he told me that they don’t have any money to work on the roads and as leaders in the area we are soliciting funds from well-wishers to fuel the grader and we work on Rwarire-Kibona road because residents are on our neck” Mugabe explained

Meanwhile, Mugabe challenged locals to change their mindset and embark on the compulsory community service ‘Bulungi Bwansi’ model rather than waiting for the government.

“Fellow leaders this is the right time to open up, this mentality of saying roads, water, and electricity is the responsibility of government should stop,” he said adding that, they should not use rudimentary methods but let them mobilize the resources and we fuel the road equipment to work on the roads by ourselves,” he said

Mugabe also asked the government to restore financial independence to local governments to ensure proper service delivery.

“I don’t know what our leaders in central government were after because every shilling we collect from local revenue goes to Kampala and it comes back reducing and delays to do the service delivery so as local leaders we are appealing government to revert the financial independence to us so that we can extend services on ground” he explained

Mugabe retaliated that the Katete Bridge connecting to the Isingiro district is charged with the central government thus appealing to the Ministry of Works and Transport to commence its construction.

“Katete Bridge has on several occasions paralyzed traffic in the city but good enough our area MPs lobbied and the central government has already allocated 8 bln to permanently work on it,” he said

Hilary Mugisha, City Engineer, challenged the government to revise both the Uganda Road Fund and rehabilitation grant work plans to cater for both equipment repairs and administrative costs under the Uganda Road Fund.

“Due to budget cuts and recent communication of no funds for quarter 3 FY 2023/24 from URF and difficulties in charging administrative costs under rehabilitation grant, there is a need to revise both URF and rehabilitation grant work plans to cater for both URF and rehabilitation grant work plans to cater for both equipment repairs and administrative costs under URF,” Mugisha said

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