UNRA requests for more UGX 400 billion from the Ministry of Finance to help in compensation of landowners
The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has requested for UGX 400 billion from the Ministry of Finance to help in compensating landowners before a national road is constructed.
For this financial year alone, UNRA was allocated 4.2 trillion shillings to helping in the smooth running of its road construction works, however, Kagina has said that the authority is already short by 980 billion shillings because o some debts it cleared.
According to Allen Kagina, the managing director of the authority, for this running financial year, UNRA needs 1,250.7 hectares of land to be able to increase the national road coverage which currently stands 20,856kms in total length for road construction in different parts of the country.
“UNRA had a debt of UGX 474 billion in last financial year plus the UGX 500 billion deficit on government-funded projects in this financial which affected this year’s budget because we had to first settle the debt,” Kagina said adding that this prompted their decision to seek more funds.
Meanwhile, the UNRA director of roads and bridges Samuel Muhoozi said that the budget for road construction has been diverted to first compensating landowners to vacate the areas so that road construction works to commence as they await more funds.
“We have the money to do constructions of the roads but we used all the compensation funds and we can’t work without land.”
According to Mr Muhoozi, UNRA plans to construct roads equivalent of 400kms in this financial year, rehabilitate other 69kms and also complete 5 bridges.
He adds that UNRA will officially start constructing some of the roads in the few areas where people have been vacated as they wait for more space for the road to be created.
“UNRA no longer waste time waiting for the long process and court cases for us to start construction, if we have about 33kms we start as we wait for others to give in their land,” said Muhoozi in response to a question when the construction works will begin.
Meanwhile, Ms. Kagina pinpointed that the creation of a single project code for land acquisition was a great contribution in ensuring that UNRA deals with issues of compensating affected landowners for the last financial year.
Kagina added that 99.8% of the funds that were earmarked for compensation last year were absorbed by the end of quarter two of the financial year.
By John Dalton Kigozi