Members of Parliament drawn from the Committe on National Economy are in the northern region to assess the implementing of road infrastructure projects within Gulu City at a cost of Shs 41b under USMID-AF.
Gulu City in Northern Uganda, is among the recipients of the $360m funding from the World Bank under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development USMID-AF, which ends in a year’s time.
According to the Chairman of the Committee, John Ikojo, one of the reasons for their inspection of projects under USMID in the 10 new cities and other municipalities, is directing on value for donor and taxpayers’ money.
“Value for money must be a requisite for any future loans that government, ministries and departments seek. We want evidence that everything is being done according to contracts as signed. These new cities still need infrastructure funding, but they will have to show us that what they have received has value,” Hon. Ikojo says.
The members of parliament on the Committee of National Economy, inspected several roads across the City division of Gulu, covering Lakana, Onono, Nelson Mandela, Opiyo, Labaru and Oola; advising the contractor, consultants and local leadership to stick to quality work.
“Implementation challenges are part and parcel of infrastructure challenges that projects in Uganda are facing. These people undertaking the civil works, must ensure compliance to the highest levels possible. They must not lose sight of this,” the Chairman of the Committee on National Economy stresses.
Gulu City, obtained 41 Billion shillings, under the USMID-AF which has since been utilised in the tarmacking of at least 11.7k, with another 6km under design and awaiting construction, according to local officials. China Railway 18 Group is undertaking the construction works.
Dr Wilson Kayom, a Senior Urban Specialist withe USMID, emphasised that “Gulu was allocated more money (42 Billion shillings) than other cities and municipalities because of its unique history associated with higher poverty levels. The new infrastructure is aimed at improving the local economy, creating more jobs, revenues and better quality of life.”
Following a mid term review exercise of the USMID-AF Programme by the World Bank in May, the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Devt is considering a new $700m infrastructure loan facility from the international development lender; aimed at funding new road infrastructure in the new cities.
Dr Kayom, added that “ better infrastructure across the new larger urban centres will drive commercial activities and better standards of living for the locals, with positive impact on the country’s revenue levels and GDP as a result.”
All the same, cross of locals say the interventions in Gulu City, needs to be expanded beyond the 11.7km so far covered under the road tarmacking.
“The city centre roads are really good now. But where most of us live, the roads are really impassable. Many potholes and dusty as well as very muddied when ever it rains like right now,” complained Sharon Adong, a fruit vendor at Boma in Gulu City.
A youthful Andrew Mugisa, has been lucky to get an internship placement at Gulu City’s Planning Department, “I was very fortunate to get a training opportunity here in Gulu City. I have been here for 7 weeks now as an intern at the planning department. Things are being done correctly here unlike in Mbuya in Kampala where I live,” the Kyambogo University student says.