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Theft of Materials Slowing Progress on Critical Oil Roads-Kagina

The earmarked oil roads measure 97 kilometres in Hoima, Buliisa Masindi and Kikuube districts. They include the 54-kilometre Masindi-Biiso road, the 25 kilometres of Hohwa-Nyairongo-Kyarushesha-Butole and 25.7 kilometres of Kabaale-Kiziranfumbi road.
Allen Kagina,the UNRA ED,flanked by ministers peter Ogwang and Jenepher Namuyangu plus Mps on the Physical Infrastructure committee during the inspection of the critical oil roads.Photo by Emmanuel Okello.

Audio 5

The massive theft of road construction materials is slowing progress on the oil roads in the Albertine graben, according to the Executive Director of the Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA Allen Kagina.

The earmarked oil roads measure 97 kilometres in Hoima, Buliisa Masindi and Kikuube districts. They include the 54-kilometre Masindi-Biiso road,  the 25 kilometres of Hohwa-Nyairongo-Kyarushesha-Butole and 25.7 kilometres of Kabaale-Kiziranfumbi road. China Railway Seventh Group Company Limited started construction of the roads in April 2019.

Ongoing work on the project includes widening of the roads, light grading and opening up of drainage structures, offshoots, drainage drifts, filling potholes, rock blasting, crushing of base course and concrete aggregate, excavation and clearing of topsoil. But Kagina says that the contractor is constrained by the massive theft of fuel, cement and iron bars, a vice she says will delay the deadline for the completion of the project.

Kagina was addressing Members of the Physical Infrastructure Committee of Parliament during the inspection of the critical oil roads in the Albertine graben on Thursday.

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The Committee, according to its chairperson David Karubanga is in the region to assess the progress on works across the graben and find out whether there is value for money on the project. Karubanga called for investigations into the reported theft of construction materials and added that it's crucial for the contractor to guarantee the quality of work given how crucial the roads are for Uganda's oil journey.

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Karubaanga says that the committee has encountered a number of challenges affecting the progress of the construction. He cited land acquisition, delayed compensation of the project affected persons, and poor drainage channels at some points that he says must be immediately addressed by the contractor.

Jenepher Namuyangu, the State Minister for Bunyoro Affairs tasked security teams in the Albertine region to jealously guard the construction materials and ensure that the road construction projects are not jeopardised. Namuyangu has also tasked the contractor to ensure quality work on all the critical oil roads in the Albertine region.  

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Peter Ogwang, the State Minister for Economic Monitoring said he would summon all the Resident District Commissioners-RDCs in the Albertine region and other security leaders to find a solution to theft of the construction materials.  

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Phillip Kitimba, the road project Contract Manager says the work progress stands at 42 per cent and attributes the delays to the outbreak of the COVID-19 that compelled them to halt work for months, delayed release of money by the government and delayed compensation of the project affected persons by the government.  

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