The Uganda Road Fund (URF) has accused the Ministry of Finance of
hijacking its mandate by directly appropriating funds for road maintenance.
The Uganda Road Fund Act, 2008 gives URF the mandate to finance
road maintenance of public roads and related activities. It allocates funds to agencies and local governments.
However, a move by the Ministry of Finance to release funds for
road maintenance in the financial year 2019/2020 has strongly been opposed by
Appearing before the physical committee on Wednesday, the URF
Executive Director, Eng. Michael Odongo wants Parliament to intervene and stop
the Ministry of Finance.
Odongo explained that the move will affect implementation and
monitoring of road maintenance plans and works, signing performance agreements
with designated agencies, enforcing adherence to the performance agreements
through monitoring, technical and financial reviews.
The committee chairperson, Kafeero Ssekitoleko asked Odongo to a
copy of the letter written to Ministry of Finance over the new move on
appropriation of the funds.
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However, Buliisa County MP Steven Mukitale wondered whether
Ministry of Finance made the move due to the mismanagement at the Road Fund following
the sacking of the board chairperson Merian Ssebunya Kemigisha.
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Last December, the Minister for Finance, Matia Kasaija asked
Kemigisha to vacate the office as board chairperson due to complaints by URF
staff to the Inspector General of Government over mismanagement and gross
Odongo acknowledged conflicts among board members particularly
over recruitment, procurement among others, which have affected the performance
of the fund in the past one year.
He, however, says that an interim chairperson, Eng. Alex Onen has
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Odongo also complained that the budget for the URF has been
reduced drastically from 542.5 billion shillings in 2018/2019 to 36.6 billion
shillings in the next financial year.