Nairobi, Uganda According to Francis Musa Ecweru, the state minister for Works, his department needs an additional $21.5 billion to conduct programs and initiatives aimed at promoting road safety. (For road safety – the transport ministry is requesting Sh21 billion)
On Thursday, July 21, 2022, Ecweru addressed the plenary while delivering a declaration on the state of Uganda’s traffic safety situation.
According to him, the extra funds will be used to implement the National Road Safety Plan, strengthen management of road safety, regulate public transportation, increase road safety education and awareness, and more.
Ecweru estimates that there are currently Shs600 million set aside for road safety initiatives, while budget constraints are also having an impact.
Since it is viewed as a consumptive expense, portion of this allocation that is not used for infrastructure is reduced whenever there are budget cuts, according to Ecweru.
He pointed out that funding for road safety remains a significant obstacle, despite the fact that there is an increasing need to devote more resources to this area.
Ecweru added, “I am aware of the various conflicting demands for money, notably in the road sub-sector, especially for the paving of the road network.
The minister said that government is also engaging the service provider for mandatory motor vehicle inspection services, on resumption of services which were halted after a long spell of no enforcement compliance.
“The Highway Code is being reviewed and updated by the ministry. The code provides information, advice, guidance and mandatory rules for road users with the objective of promoting safety,” Ecweru added.
The road traffic crashes are responsible for an average of 10 deaths per day. It is ironical that road crashes affect the most productive age group. These crashes could be avoided,” he said.
He blamed a huge number of crashes to over speeding, reckless driving, careless pedestrians and driving under the influence of alcohol, among others.
Gilbert Olanya, a county representative for Kilak South, disagreed, claiming that the minister’s remarks did not call for quick action.
“Potholes in the middle of the road cause accidents when you look at most of the roads, like the Gulu Highway. Olanya stated that immediate action was required to prevent traffic accidents.
The representative for people with disabilities, Joyce Acan, attributed the growing carnage on the roads to their narrowness and questioned why the government permits the development of such roads.
The majority of newly built roads have very large pavement, making them very narrow. Newly constructed roads are also very narrow and are built under government oversight. “The ministry hasn’t explained to us how they permit that to occur,” claimed Acan.
Joel Ssenyonyi, a member of parliament for Nakawa Division West, recommended that the government regularly enforce traffic laws and regulations to increase road safety.
Government should deal with inconsistency, once we are not consistent with certain things, people get used. Government executed seatbelts for a certain period and abandoned it, same goes for speed governors. We need to get to that place where people know that we are serious about certain things,” Ssenyonyi said.
The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, guided that the debate on road safety is broad, and referred it to the Committee of Physical Infrastructure.
He also advised the Prime Minister to convene a meeting with the Ministry of Works and that of Internal Affairs.
“You can have regulations but you do not have the powers to enforce directly, you need another agency. We are lacking integration on implementation,” said Tayebwa. (For road safety – the transport ministry is requesting Sh21 billion – celebrity jazz ug)