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District Reimburses sh500m Back to National Coffers Despite Its Poor Road Network

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There is uproar among leaders in Luweero district over an unutilized sh500 meant for road works. In the 2023/24 financial year, the Government disbursed one billion shillings to Luweero district for road works.

According to a report by Luweero district engineer Robert Kalenzi, by the time the financial year elapsed, the district had only been able to spend sh500m out of the one billion shillings.

The district carried out road works on Waluleta –Ndejje road (5.1 kilometers), Wobulenzi-Waluleta road (8.3 kilometers), Kikyusa-Kibengo-Manywa road (25 kilometers) and upgrading Lumansi swamp (0.4 kilometers).

The district officials also spent sh78m on road inspections, inventory, office operations and meetings.

About five roads and swamps which were supposed to be worked on using the grant remain unrehabilitated.

Erastus Kibirango the district chairperson of Luweero district explained that the district could not spend over sh500m because rains disrupted works within the first two quarters of the 2023/24 financial year.

Kibirango adds that on resuming works, the district road equipment suffered rampant breakdown and delay in the release of funds for the last quarter.

He noted that by the end of the financial year, all funds had been committed to fuel, allowances and buying consumables for road equipment to ensure that they were not taken back to the consolidated fund.

He said currently the engineering department is working hard to absorb all the funds before the release of more funds in the new financial year 2024/25.

The district also received an additional sh179m from Uganda Road Fund but this remains unaccounted for.

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However, the Resident District Commissioner and sub-county chairpersons have faulted the district leadership for incompetence as well as for executing shoddy work.

The sub-county chairpersons had initially asked the district to send a share of the grant to each sub-county to work on their roads but they rejected the request.

Nuru Kijjambu the Kikyusa sub-county chairperson and Edward Ssimbwa the Luweero sub-county chairperson said that instead they were asked to submit at least three roads to benefit from the one billion road grant but to date nothing is being done.

Ssimbwa explained that he expected the district to work on the Luweero-Kikube-Kagalama road but to date there are no works and residents are bitter over the road’s poor state.

Kijjambu said that the works done along Kikyusa-Kibengo-Manywa road using the grant are also not convincing to the residents.

The Resident District Commissioner Richard Bwabye blamed the non-utilization of road funds on lack of supervision, poor coordination and planning by the works department.

Bwabye added that he has also got reports that shoddy works have also been done on the few reportedly completed roads.

He has asked the Chief Administrative Officer to take action on the engineering unit for failure to utilize funds and executing shoddy works rather than hiding their weaknesses.

The RDC also wrote to the CAO asking him to submit a status report about the utilization of the road grant extended to the district.

The District Road Committee composed of Members of Parliament and district leadership is expected to inspect the roads completed and thereafter hold a meeting on the matter.

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Denis Ssekabira, the Katikamu North Member of Parliament says that some of the issues affecting road works are above the district’s mandate hence need to come up with a common voice to ensure they are corrected.

“As MPs we shall need to find out why funds are released late and the Ministry of Works fail to repair the road equipment which is their mandate,” Ssekabira said.

Luweero district has a road network of over 1,360 kilometers. At least 628 kilometers of these are maintained by the district, 164. 51 kilometers by urban councils and 567.3 kilometers by sub-counties.

However, the majority of the roads in the district are impassable due to potholes and culverts that caved in.

 

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