By Ronald Kalyango
THE Uganda Road Fund (URF) has withheld about sh400m meant for road maintenance in Masaka and Gulu districts after the respective accounting officers failed to account for an earlier release.
URF executive director, Dr. Michael Odong revealed that the unaccounted for funds were released to the districts in the last quarter.
Odong told journalists at URF offices at Twed Towers in Kampala that the withheld sh400m was meant for January-April quarter road maintenance.
“We have withheld their funds because they failed to submit satisfactory annual work plans for 2013/14 financial year and subsequently have never signed performance agreements,” said Odongo.
On average, he explained, districts receive between sh150m to sh200m; municipalities get about sh200m and town councils on average receive about sh60m on a quarterly basis to maintain roads.
“We have given them up to February 15, to account for the funds that they received in the last quarter and also sign the agreements. Otherwise, they will not receive funds meant for road maintenance in their districts,” Odong said.
Other accounting officers who are required to provide accountability for the funds that they received include those from Butambala, Buhweju and Agago.
URF is also demanding accountability from the accounting officers of Mbale, Soroti, Tororo, Hoima, Ntungamo, Busia and Bushenyi-Ishaka municipalities.
Odongo also said the districts of Kibaale, Mpigi and Rukungiri municipal council received their funds but with stern warning from the URF to file timely accountabilities.
“We want all officials to desist from corruption involving road maintenance funds as has been the case. Those who fail to account will be taken to courts of Law,” said Odongo.
He said sh75b was recently released to different government agencies for maintenance of various categories of public roads in this financial year.
Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) received over sh55b, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) got over sh1.3bn while the districts are supposed to share sh8.8b.
A statement by URF said municipalities have been allocated sh3.3b, town councils sh4b and over sh700m provided for emergencies and special interventions in the beneficiary areas.
“We caution agencies that have continued to abuse road maintenance funds to desist from it or else funds will be withheld as provided for in the Uganda Road Fund Act, 2008,” Odongo said.