The Minister of Works and Transport, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala has told Parliament that his ministry is in debt of 585 billion shillings and that it is not able to maintain roads amidst financing challenges.
Gen. Wamala was on Thursday speaking on the floor of Parliament following a query from Speaker, Anita Among and Zombo Woman MP, Esther Afoyochan in regard to impassable roads in West Nile.
“Even some of the repairs that we would be doing, the responses we would be doing now for emergencies…the problem is not that we don’t want to do the roads, the problem is money. The money is not there as yet. If we get the release, we shall do the roads. We are in debt of 585 billion shillings which we owe the contractors who are supposed to be maintaining these roads,” said Gen. Wamala.
This was after, MP Afoyochan raised a matter of national importance in regard to the poor state of the road to her district. She appealed for urgent intervention from the Ministry of Works to ensure repairs.
But the Minister responded saying that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni had already directed his Ministry to work on the road but the challenge is lack of funds. The Minister also told Parliament that his ministry has restored movement of vehicles on the Pakwach-Olwiyo road.
Movement to Pakwach, Arua and several other parts of West Nile has for the past days been interrupted by flooding caused when Tangi River burst its banks. This left several travelers stranded.
In his statement to Parliament on Thursday afternoon, Gen. Wamala said that vehicles are now moving but his Ministry has also worked on an alternative route for people through the Murchison Falls National Park.
The Minister said that this arrangement has already been discussed with the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities and that any vehicle passing through the park will not be charged. Gen. Wamala added that they are now looking at having a permanent solution for the affected part of the road.
Earlier, the Speaker of Parliament Among had highlighted the poor state of the road, saying that this had affected connectivity to different parts of West Nile.
Among said that she had received information about the road and the effect it has caused to the transportation of people and goods.
She also urged the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities and Minister of Works and Transport to work together and waive off the road user fees through the park.
Speaker Among directed Gen. Wamala to represent a report on actions being taken about the state of different roads for Parliament to take an action.