By Steven Enatu
The Office of the Prime Minister has released Shs300 million for the rehabilitation of a 9.5-km road in Kalaki district.
According to the District Woman Member of Parliament for Kalaki Jennifer Ayoo Nalukwago, the money is a capital development fund that is meant for the rehabilitation of a 9.5-kilometre road from Bululu Sub-county headquarters to Ipenet in Ocelakur Sub-county.
Ayoo made these remarks while chairing the district’s roads committee in the district headquarters.
In 2021/22, Kalaki district had a total budget of Shs831,474,441 that is meant to be used in the rehabilitation of unpaved roads that are in deplorable condition within this lower local government.
The newly posted Chief Administrative Officer, Christopher Okumu explained that the funds are supposed to be received from the central government in three quarters; in the first quarter the district received Shs46,235,027, while in the second quarter, Shs124,734,782 has been set aside and then in the third quarter, the district will receive Shs259,782,885 that amounts to 51.8 per cent,”.
Okumu promised to pay a keen eye on the utilisation of these funds to avoid leakages as in the past.
The District Engineer, Francis Emalu explains that Kalaki has a road network of 240.98 km which are feeder roads and then on the other hand, it has 159.9 km of community access roads that are all meant to benefit from this same funding.
He says, “The capital development activities that were planned by the district are still in the procurement process and the moment procurement is complete, then work will commence with immediate effect.”
In the budget of 2022/2023, for example, the low-cost seal of Kalaki-Otuboi-Bata road which is 0.5km is supposed to be rehabilitated at the cost of Shs214,437,500 and this funding comes from RTI while on the other hand, reshaping of Kakure-Kadie-Lwala road which is a five-kilometre road is given Shs61 million under Uganda Road Fund and then the routine maintenance of 240.98km is Shs45,600,000.
Emalu adds that the reshaping of Osikai-Abalang road which is eight kilometres has got funded by Discretionary Development Equalization Grant (DDEG) amounting to Shs37 million. In all these road activities in Kalaki, the district has finalised the recruitment of Shs120 road workers and 12 headmen.
“The department of works has also received AMCO culverts from the ministry of works and transport as follows; 16 pieces of 900mm and 24 pieces of 600mm bringing to a total of 40 pieces,” Emalu explains.
The District Engineer says the district is embroiled in challenges that accrue from a lack of road equipment hence making work difficult. “We are forced to borrow equipment from the mother district.
Emalu told the meeting, “This is where the bedrock of the problem lies. Because, when the district is ready to work on these roads, the mother district, too, will be busy working on their roads. And even when we are given the equipment, they can be recalled on short notice.” Kalaki was carved out in 2019 from Kaberamaido district.
Then also budget cuts by the ministry of finance led to incomplete works on these roads.
“As a district, we had issues of misappropriation of funds but the office of the Inspector General of Government and State Housing Anti-corruption Unit have yet to release their reports,” Ayoo said.
It’s against this backdrop that CAO, Okumu pledged to give proper accountability for the funds that have been sent to the district for road rehabilitation.
“I have tasked my technical staff to ensure that construction work in Kalaki should not have any element of shoddy work. Whoever will attempt to do shoddy work will be dealt with accordingly,” Okumu added.