By: Ismael Kasooha

Government has assured the people of Lango sub region of its commitment to work on the road network in the region in order to foster socio-economic transformation.

“I would like to assure the Leaders and the People of the Lango sub-region that the Government of Uganda is committed to providing the infrastructure and services necessary for the socio-economic transformation of the whole Uganda without marginalisation of any region,” said Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja.

The Prime Minister was responding to concerns raised by the Lango Parliamentary group over the  state of the Kamdini-Lira road.

The members of parliament held a press briefing at Parliament asking the government to intervene in the matter.

 Nabbanja said that the Government  is working with the World Bank (WB) in the rehabilitation and maintenance of the 340km Tororo-Mbale-Lira-Kamdini road, as part of the North Eastern Road Asset Management Project (NERAMP).

The 66km Lira-Kamdini Road section falls under  this project.

She said that the conditions of the loan from the World Bank require strict compliance to environmental and social standards.

The conditions require approval by the World Bank, of all Environmental and Social Safeguards studies including those for acquisition of sources of construction materials.

“The NERAMP project includes Environmental and social studies as part of the signed contract, and these studies have to be finalised before the major works start. There have been delays in preparing these safeguards documents to meet the enhancements in the World Bank requirements following the challenges faced on previous World Bank financed projects,” said Nabbanja.

She however said that Government through UNRA is working to ensure that these environmental and social compliance requirements are met to the satisfaction of National Laws and the World Bank regulations.

The Prime Minister said that significant progress has been achieved, and that the remaining main action is concluding the documentation for the source of aggregates which has been identified from a supplier in Lira.

“This process has been delayed because of the need to ensure that no damage is done to the environment and the communities when rocks are extracted to produce the aggregates for the road works. The Safeguards document the supplier prepared is to be submitted to the bank for clearance and the process of approval is nearing completion,” said the prime minister.

Nabanja said that in the meantime, the contractor has been instructed to intensify the maintenance activities to keep the road motorable and ensure the safety of the road users.

She said that UNRA is engaging the Bank to seek approval in the interim to use the materials being produced by the suppliers as the documents which meet the bank requirements are finalised.

The prime minister also said that the upgrading of Rwekunye – Apac – Lira – Puranga road (191km) is currently ongoing.

The project is funded by Government of Uganda in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank and is being implemented in two Lots:

Lot 1: Rwekunye – Apac (90.9km); and

Lot 2: Apac – Lira – Puranga (100.1km).

The contracts for upgrading of Lot 1: Rwekunye – Apac (90.1km) commenced on 07 December 2020 and is expected to be completed by 06 December 2023. The contract for Lot 2: Apac – Lira – Puranga (100.1km) commenced on 14 December 2020 and is expected to be completed by 13 December 2023.

“I apologise for the inconveniences caused by the delays in the implementation of the projects. The concerns raised by the Lango Parliamentary Group are being taken very seriously and the Government will take all necessary steps to ensure the projects are completed as planned,” said Nabbanja.  END