The purpose of the five-year project is to expand urban infrastructure and enhance the capacity of 14 Municipal Local Governments
By Dennis Obbo
Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project is a World Bank supported project, which Government has implemented since 2013.
The purpose of the five-year project is to expand urban infrastructure and enhance the capacity of 14 Municipal Local Governments of Arua, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Moroto, Mbale, Tororo, Jinja, Entebbe, Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, Fort Portal and Hoima to generate own source revenues, improve urban planning, strengthen financial management, procurement and environmental and social systems.
The 14 municipal local governments have had a significant discretion in selecting priority projects from a menu of what they felt would transform their respective urban areas. The menu included municipal road construction and placement of related road furniture; solid waste management; development of markets and construction of urban transport facilities, e.g. bus or lorry terminals.
The USMID programme is implemented along what is known as “programme-for-results” which is a unique implementation method even within the World Bank. It essentially means that after the first disbursement of funds, more money is only released if there are visible and verified results of work done, thus the better your performance the better your subsequent money release. The program has demanded for greater accountability from the 14 Municipal Councils, while it has at the same time given them a firm foundation to deliver on high quality and sustainable results that will continue to support the Municipal Councils even when the project ends.
The programme is on course both in terms of implementation of activities and disbursement of funds. This is because, there has been a marked improvement in the Municipalities’ decision making. Procurements have tremendously improved, although there is need for more attention especially in regards to enhancing the skills of efficient contract management.
The introduction of the cluster approach to procurement where Municipalities are grouped according to their needs has yielded quick results and numerous benefits to the extent that the Ministry will soon take a decision to maintain it in such future approaches to implementing projects.
In Arua the roads worked on include: Enyau Road and Idi Amin Road totaling 1.68 km.
Entebbe has Church Road, Nyondo Road, Basude Rise, Fulu Road totaling 2.193 km.
Fort Portal has Nyakana Road, Kagote Road totaling 0.613 km.
Gulu has Ring Road, Labour Line Road, Acholi Lane Road, Alokolum Road, and Cemetery Road totaling 3.637 km.
Hoima has Rukurato Road, Main Street, Old Toro Road, Coronation Road, Persy Road, Government Road, Kabalega Road all totaling 2.732 km.
Jinja has Nalufenya-Clive Road West totaling 2.22 km.
Kabale started late but Nkunda Road, Keita Road, Nyerere Road, Nyerere Av., Kigongi Road all totaling 2.439 km.
Lira has Aduku Road, Oyite Ojok Road, Imat Maria Road, Maruzi Road, Awange Mola Road, Ambobhai Road all totaling 2.285 kms.
Masaka has Yellow knife Road and Kabula Street Drainage totaling 1.559 km.
Mbale has Republic Street, Pallisa Road, Mugisu Hill, Nabuyonga Rise totaling 3.142 km.
Mbarara has Akiki-Nyabongo Road, McAllister Road, Constatino Lobo Road and Buremba Road all totaling 3.43 km. still in progress.
Moroto chose to construct a bus terminal and parking yard and the initial phase is completed.
Soroti has done Cemetery Road, Central Avenue, Alanyu Road, Liverpool Road, Serere Road, totaling 2.862 km and Tororo has worked on Kashmir Road, Tagore West, Bazaar Street, Obuya Lane, Park Lane and Tagore East totaling 1.503 km.
The total amount of monies that has been invested in this infrastructure is UGX 146,651,340,026
A common challenge facing most of the Municipalities is the giving away of Public open spaces by District Land Boards and without the consent of the Municipal authorities.
In the interim, Municipalities have been advised to effectively engage their representative on the District Land Boards (DLBs), failing of which the Municipalities have been advised to sue the DLBs for irregular allocations of Municipal land.
Municipal Council authorities have also been tasked to inform the Ministry Zonal Offices, which process the land titles, of such irregular transactions so that titling such land is halted. It is this type of empowerment that USMID has instilled in the Municipal leaders who previously just sat and lamented, as DLBs gave away what did not belong to them.
The writer is a spokesperson, Ministry of Lands, Housing & Urban Development