The Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has recommended a special audit in the maintenance of the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway.
This recommendation was made in a report presented by the Committee Chairperson, Hon. Joel Ssenyonyi on the Auditor General’s report on Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) for Financial Year 2020/2021.
Ssenyonyi presented the report during the plenary sitting on Wednesday, 18 January 2023.
The committee observed that the contractor EGIS is paid Shs918.47 million per month for operations and maintenance of the Expressway which they said is on the high end.
Ssenyonyi said that tolling operations commenced on 08 January 2022 with an average monthly collection of Shs2.8 billion from which the maintenance costs are paid.
He noted that the contractor told the committee that delays by UNRA to pay for operation and maintenance affects the operations and attracts interest.
“The contractor China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) should fix the defects within three months and UNRA should provide an update to Parliament,” the report reads in part.
The committee also observed that lights have never been installed from the time of commencement of usage of the expressway, which has caused accidents and a level of insecurity on the road at night.
“UNRA should erect lights on the entire expressway by the end of January 2023,” the report further reads.
The committee also noted delayed payments of project affected persons (PAPs) for different road projects.
For the Kampala-Jinja Expressway, the committee noted that 229 PAPs out of 234 with properties worth Shs70.2 billion were also paid after the specified six-month period.
“This is how some projects become slow-moving with resultant financial consequences to the taxpayer. UNRA should always first acquire right of way before signing contracts or commencing works,” Ssenyonyi said.
The committee also observed that UNRA did not seek the necessary approval to reallocate funds from one activity to another.
The report recommended that approvals should always be sought whenever budget variations are inevitable, and should never exceed 10 per cent of the activity budget.
The Speaker Anita Among, however, told the House sitting that she received a letter for virement written to the Secretary to the Treasury, which was authorized by the PSST.
Hon. Mourine Osoru (NRM, Arua City) observed that guardrails on the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway are being vandalized and urged the Police to provide patrols on the road.
Hon. Gilbert Olanya (FDC, Kilak South County) called on UNRA to revisit the payment of the road toll on the expressway saying it us high for road users.
“The road is very convenient. If the government can consider, let the road toll be paid once; if you are going to Entebbe, you pay once and make the return trip for free,” Olanya said.
Hon. Kenneth Kiiza (Indep., Bujenje County) cited the 48km Masindi-Biso road where PAPs have not been paid because they are sugarcane growers.
“When we wrote to UNRA, they wrote back saying they do not have commercial value for sugarcane. This has delayed compensation which causes the roadworks to take longer than expected thus causing financial loss to government,” Kiiza said.