The announcement, last year, of a record setting budget for road construction, maintenance and repair excited many people in Uganda. When the former Minister for Finance, Ezra Suruma, revealed during the 2008/2009 budget speech that 1.1 trillion shillings was to be spent on roads, it was seen as a turning point for transport infrastructure in the country.
A year later Members of Parliament who unanimously approved the road budget say they are disappointed that very little has been done to improve roads in Uganda.
MPs Willy Ekemu, Sam Lyomoki, Johnson Malinga and Alex Byarugaba say they want the Minister of Works, John Nasasira to provide an explanation on why the money was not properly utilized. They say that in the financial year in which major construction was to be done highways roads have deteriorated, feeder roads are impassable and several bridges have collapsed from years of disrepair.
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Parliament, local government authorities, the civil society and donor community are currently holding a series of meetings to assess the 2008/2009 budget performance and are tabling their proposals for the coming financial year. There are unconfirmed reports that any attempts to ask for more money for road construction will be blocked unless the Ministry of Works provides full accountability for the 1.1 trillion shillings disbursed this year.