By Billy Rwothungeyo
Dr. Chebrot Stephen, the state minister for transport has urged transporters to be mindful of the damage that their trucks cause to the national road network.
“I want you [transporters] to have some corporate responsibility. When your vehicle is overloaded, it will not only damage the road, but your vehicle also,” he said at a meeting organised by the Trade ministry and the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to raise awareness of ongoing efforts to eliminate non-tariff barriers that affect transportation of cargo.
Dr. Chebrot Stephen, the state minister for Works and Transport in charge of transport. PHOTO/Billy Rwothungeyo
For the last couple of years, roads have been taking the biggest chunk of the budget as the government steps up efforts to improve infrastructure. In 2013/2014, UNRA was allocated sh2,395bn, an increase of sh1,650.75bn in the 2012/2013 budget.
Stakeholders think that due to the high cost of money that government is sinking into road construction, more efforts needs to be done to protect these investments.
Eng. Kimeze Ssebbugga, the acting Executive Director of UNRA re-echoed the minister’s sentiments.
“If you go beyond the allowable axle limits, every ton that is in excess of the allowable legal limits tremendously damages the road network,” he said.
“The engineers design and construct roads to last a number of years. Those years are not necessarily calendar years; those years are turned into equivalent standard axles.”
“When good roads are not properly used, they will turn into non-tariff barriers. A poor road will not be able to facilitate trade. A journey that should have lasted seven hours will take you twelve.”
Chebrot also said the corruption the corruption at weighbridges is facilitated by transporters willingness to pay bribes.
“You want to break the law, so that when you reach the weigh bridge, you bribe. If you were not paying the people at the weighbridges, there would be no corruption.”
He also lambasted magistrates who involve in the corruption vice.
“If you impound a vehicle, the magistrate disappears from the court, so that they start looking for him and pay him the bribe.”
To deter people from overloading their trucks and damaging roads, Chebrot suggested that vehicles should be impounded for a longer time period of time like six months.