17 Aug 2022: Legislators want deliberate action by the Ministry of Works and Transport to improve road designs across the country in a bid to curb road carnage and improve road safety.
The Members of Parliament on the Committee on Physical Infrastructure chaired by Hon. Robert Kasolo made the call in a meeting with Works and Transport Minister, Gen. Katumba Wamala on Wednesday, 17 August 2022.
Katumba Wamala said that the ministry collects over shs200 billion in non-tax revenue in a year and made a request for shs21.5 billion of this amount to be availed to the ministry.
In a statement to the House in July 2022, State Minister for Works and Transport Hon. Musa Ecweru said the ministry identified key critical areas of intervention towards implementation of road safety programmes and activities requiring additional funding of shs21.5 billion.
The activities include strengthening of road safety management and regulation of public transport stepping up road safety education and awareness and implementation of the National Road Safety Plan.
Hon. Sarah Opendi (NRM, Tororo District) said the challenge of road designs is not often considered when discussing road safety which she said lead to head on collisions.
She alluded to foreign countries that have barricades that separate roads which most roads in the Uganda don’t have adding that indiscipline of drivers using wrong lanes causes accidents.
“We are moving closer to 2030 when we are supposed to reduce road carnage by 50 per cent but it is instead increasing because we are not taking proactive means in reducing these fatalities,” Opendi said adding that, ’If we are to reduce road accidents in this country, the road design must change’.
She also attributed challenges of road safety to failure by government to invest in other modes of transport including railway services.
“When shall we have the Standard Gauge Railway so that we have our goods transported using the railway line? I want to see the meter gauge functional from Malaba border to other parts of the country so that we have an alternative to trailers,” Opendi said.
Hon. Nelson Okello (UPC, Maruzi North County) tasked the minister to engage Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to develop a detailed cost for identifying and redesigning black spots on roads and make them dual carriage ways.
“We can pilot one road so that we see whether if sections on a road like Busia-Malaba are improved, we can address the issue of road safety,” Okello said.
He emphasized the need for UNRA to carry out road marking on all roads in the country which he said will check on road fatalities.
Ntoroko County MP, Hon. Ibanda Rwemulikya called for punitive measures on indisciplined road users especially those who park in the middle of roads or drive along the wrong lanes.
He added that traffic cameras should also be effectively used to apprehend road users who act with impunity.
“If we are not tough on road users, we shall continue see these road accidents. You are doing good seminars but you should take them to road users. I want to see you in the taxi parks,” Rwemulikya said.
Hon. Elijah Okupa (Indep., Kasilo County) emphasized the need to prioritize funding from the Road Fund towards road safety to check on road accidents in the country.
“We need to push hard to make sure that the Ministry of Works and Transport gets the money entitled by law to handle road safety,” he said.
Katumba Wamala said the National Road Safety Action Plan costed at shs601 billion over a five year period was approved by the ministry on Thursday 11 August 2022 and a formal launch will be organized to commence implementation.
“The Traffic and Road Safety Act was amended in 2020 and the process of developing regulations to operationalize the Act commenced. Fourteen of the regulations were approved and will be forwarded to the First Parliamentary Counsel for redrafting and approval,” Katumba Wamala said.