The Government of the Republic of Uganda is partnering with the World Bank (WB) in the rehabilitation and maintenance Tororo-Mbale-Lira-Kamdini road (340km) as part of the North Eastern Road Asset Management Project (NERAMP).
According to Musa Ecweru the Minister of State for Works and Transport (Works), the project will be executed in two lots and the Lira-Kamdini Road (66km) section forms part of Lot 2: Soroti — Lira — Kamdini.
The development comes at a time when politicians in Lango Sub-region were organizing locals to hold demonstrations against delayed rehabilitation of the Kamdini-Lira road which has been in a sorry state for many years.
Minister Ecweru says this is an innovative project which is the first of its kind in Uganda and aims at introducing long-term asset management contracts through Output and Performance-Based Contracting (OPRC), hence the delays.
He added that routine maintenance has been ongoing on the entire corridor from Tororo to Kamdini and the Lira — Kamdini section requires extra intervention due to the extent of deterioration.
“The Contractor has been unable to commence the heavy rehabilitation required due to noncompliance to Environmental and Social safeguards requirements. The conditions of the loan from the World Bank require strict compliance to environmental and social standards. The conditions require approval by the World Bank of all Environmental and Social Safeguards studies including those for the acquisition of sources of construction materials” Minister Ecweru added.
In the meantime, Ecweru says all the designs for the required interventions on the Lira — Kamdini section have been completed and are ready for implementation once all the environmental and social conditions are met.
He noted that the government through UNRA is working to ensure that these environmental and social compliance requirements are met to the satisfaction of National Laws and the World Bank regulations.
Adding that several engagements have been held with all the stakeholders in an effort to resolve the delay as quickly as possible. An updated Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the road was prepared and submitted to the Bank for approval.
Currently, Minister Ecweru says the source of aggregate for undertaking the works has been identified and UNRA is working with the Bank to ensure that the material source meets all the safeguards requirements. The ESIA for this material source is to be submitted to the Bank by 21 January 2022 and once the Bank has approved the source, the Contractor will be given the approval to commence heavy maintenance on the Lira — Kamdini section. The implementation of social and environmental safeguards is important to ensure the road works do not negatively affect the society in the project area.
Ecweru told journalists that in the meantime, the contractor has been instructed to intensify the maintenance activities to keep the road motorable and ensure the safety of the road users. Maintenance works are ongoing but they are limited to scarification and compaction. He says that the scarified sections cannot be sealed and will remain as with gravel surfacing until the source of aggregates is approved.
UNRA is engaging the Bank to seek approval in the interim to use the materials being produced by the suppliers as the documents which meet the bank requirements are finalized.