By Joel Ogwang
The Government has released sh113.1b for the maintenance of roads in the second quarter (Q2) of the current 2013/ 14 financial year.
A press statement from the Uganda Road Fund (URF) shows that sh84.7b was disbursed to the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), sh3.1b to Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and 111 districts (sh10.1b).
Additionally, sh3.4b was disbursed to the 22 municipalities in the country, sh4.79b to 174 town councils and sh6.96b to 1, 105 sub-counties.
URF has also released sh28.4b to designated agencies for the maintenance of District, Urban and Community Access Roads (DUCAR) in Q2 of this 2013/ 14 FY.
“Upon release of funds for maintenance of public roads in Quarter 2 of FY 2013/14 to URF by Treasury, the Fund Management Board in line with Section 14 of the Uganda Road Fund Act 2008 has authorized the release of sh28,4b to KCCA and Local Governments for the maintenance of various categories of public roads in Q2 of FY 2013/14,” the release reads in part.
The releases were triggered by satisfactory Annual work-plans, detailed satisfactory physical and financial accountability for Q4 of FY 12/13 and general receipt evidencing timely transfer of sub-agency funds in Q1 (FY 13/14) in case of districts.
The five divisions of Kampala; Rubaga, Kawempe, Nakawa, Makindye and Central received sh671.6m for the routine maintenance of 275kms and sh2.1b for periodic maintenance of 6.74kms.
The District Local Governments (DLGs), together with urban local authorities within its boundaries designated as independent agencies of URF, will each expend not more than 4.5% of Q2 maintenance funds as operational costs including for District Roads Committee (DRC) costs.
Each designated agency within the boundary of the district is responsible for meeting costs of participation of its categories of members scheduled in Section 25 (2) of the URF Act in the DRC forum.
Since accountability of the funds by the designated agencies to URF remained the responsibility of accounting officers, they were urged to ensure that road maintenance funds are not garnished by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
“Agencies should immediately provide general receipts to URF as soon as funds are received without further prompting,” the release warns.
When contacted for a comment on whether or not UNRA had received the maintenance funds, Dan Alinange, the publicist, responded in the affirmative.
“Yes, we have received the money. It is on our account at Bank of Uganda,” he said.
However, Alinange noted that the timing of the release was not appropriate with only days to the end of the second quarter, adding that at the time funds are received, roads have deteriorated beyond repair.
“Our quarterly plans are now useless. If you are giving us money at the end of the year, now that we are going into Christmas, how are we going to carry out our Q2 plans when we are getting money three weeks to the end of the quarter?” he wondered.
Francis Lukooya, the Mukono LC5 chief, couldn’t readily confirm receipt of the funds, but warned that; “Sometimes URF advertise release of the money in the press when they actually haven’t!”
Like Alinange, Lukooya said the timing was not appropriate, a situation that resulted in balances of funds returned to the treasury.
“When you delay release of Q2, it means that even the third quarter release will delay. At the end of the financial year, we have a lot of money to return to the consolidated account even when our roads are bad, as the law demands. This is unfortunate,” he said.