The Prime Minister Ms Robinah Nabbanja has directed the Uganda Road Fund (URF) to conduct a forensic audit targeting the road infrastructure programme in districts of Greater Luweero that is in a sorry state despite government releasing funds for routine maintenance.
While it could be true that the funds released by the government for the Financial Year 2021/22 are no sufficient cover the maintenance for the entire road infrastructure for the districts of Luweero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola, the fact that the respective district engineers cannot properly account for the works on the ground raises a big concern.
“You are telling us that you used 75.9 percent of the funds for road maintenance, but our interest is not in the percentages, but the number of kilometres covered and how much was used on particular roads. Can you organize yourself and give us the figures,” Ms Nabbanja directed the Luweero District Engineer, Mr Robert Kalenzi while monitoring government projects in the area over the weekend.
Nakaseke District engineer told the Prime Minister that they worked on 44.1km of the various roads. He, however, could not name the roads.
“The roads engineer in a district is supposed to have detailed information regarding the funds utilised and the number of kilometers worked on. What are you presenting to this meeting if you only say we worked on the various roads in the district? I want a special audit for the roads infrastructure in the three districts of the Greater Luweero,” she said.
While government released Shs316m, Shs272m and Shs286m for the districts of Luweero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola respectively for the FY 2021/2022, district leaders claim the work was poorly done and does not reflect the figures. Some leaders claim that the district engineers from the three districts do not want to share the road works information with them, based on selfish and questionable interests.
Mr Sam Kigula, the Nakasongola District chairperson claimed that his team was surprised to learn that the district engineering team spent Shs75m for maintenance works on a 2.5km road in the year 2021.
“We were all shocked at the figure reflected by the district technical team, but because the works are technical, we let it go as reflected,” he said.
State Minister for Works, Mr Musa Ecweru, who was also at the meeting at the meeting revealed that when the government releases funds for the different projects including the roads maintenance, value for money must be reflected.
“Sometimes the connivance between the different district officials including particular officials at the ministry, in acts of corruption is the reason for the poor service delivery,” he said.
Despite the corruption tendencies among district officials, road construction has remained an expensive undertaking and many districts are unable to work on all roads under their jurisdiction.
For example, Nakaseke has a total of 416kms of road network under the district roads, but the leaders say the money released from the central government coffers cannot cover even 50 percent of the total road network in the district.