Members of Parliament from the WestNile area met with the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) executive team Wednesday to review the state of the region’s road infrastructure.
Members of Parliament praised UNRA in its role of expediting the government’s overall agenda of constructing and maintaining road infrastructure to facilitate social economic change throughout the discussion.
Allen Kagina, UNRA executive director, welcomed the MPs to UNRA in her opening remarks.
She stated, “We are persistent in our desire to connect Uganda with superior roads and bridges, particularly in the West Nile region.”
“We are the lifeblood of the Ugandan economy, and we are proud of the considerable growth we have facilitated across all sectors thanks to our better road network,” she said.
The MPs from the 13 districts that make up the West Nile region got a briefing on UNRA’s numerous road construction and upgrade programs, led by Atima Jackson, MP Arua City and Regional Whip.
“As trade between the West Nile region and South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo grows at an exponential rate, we require a well-maintained road network. We appreciate UNRA for the work they’ve done so far, and we urge them to continue building good roads to safeguard the region’s prosperity,” Atima said.
According to Eng. Joseph Otim, Director of Road Maintenance, a total of 910km would have undergone repair and upgrade work by the conclusion of the fiscal year 2021/2022.
Arua – Nebbi (76km), Nebbi – Pakwach (54.3km), and Manibe – Koboko (50km) are just a few examples.
Otim urged MPs to join UNRA in ensuring that adequate money are appropriated for road upkeep.
“For example, we asked Shs 80 billion in the first quarter of FY 2021/2022, but UNRA only received Shs 46 billion, which has reduced the work we can do,” Otim explained.
During the open debate, the MPs asked UNRA to take over the district roadways, particularly in Yumbe, which is home to Uganda’s largest refugee camp and Africa’s second largest.
“The roads in Yumbe have been overburdened by increased motorized traffic associated with the management of the Bidi Bidi camp; this route should be given the same attention as oil highways,” James Baba, MP Koboko, remarked.
West Nile has been abandoned and forgotten by the government, according to West Moyo MP Tom Alero.
“We demand that the national road budget be increased. We host a large number of refugees and have access to two countries: South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. UNRA should improve the region’s road connections, according to Alero.
During the discussion, it was decided that another meeting would be held under the Office of the Prime Minister, including representatives from the Ministries of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, as well as the Ministries of Works and Transportation, to address issues presented during the meeting.