By Abubakar Bin Siraji
Business is getting paralyzed in Mbale District because the state of roads connecting to most trading centers and markets is worsening by the day.
Traders, drivers and Boda boda riders, say that they are incurring exorbitant transport costs because of poor roads in the district.
Fred Wambewo, a driver on the Mbale- Busano route, says that most roads in the district need to be rehabilitated to make them motorable. He said initially it used to take them 40 minutes to drive from Mbale city to Busano.
The most affected roads include Bugema – Busano road that connects to Lwambogo trading center to Busano Sub County under Uganda National Roads Authority, Manyonyi- Wambewo road under Agricultural Cluster Development Source funded by World Bank leading to Wambewo trading center, mile 4 Muyinga – Nabumali road leading to Bubirabi trading centre to Nabumali town council under Mbale District Local Government.
Milton Wetete, a trader in Bubirabi trading centre, says the road has been in a sorry state for the past 10 years, adding that their pleas to district authorities to rehabilitate the road seem to have fallen on deaf ears yet Bungokho is the food basket for several sub-counties within and out of the district.
He says they are forced to increase the prices of their commodities to cover their transport costs.
He appeals to the district to rehabilitate Muyinga – Nabumali road so that they can also trade effectively and access health services.
Emma Namondo, a trader in Lwambogo trading center, says that the poor road network has taken a huge toll on their businesses as customers are shunning their merchandise because of hiked prices resulting from the heavy transport costs.
The Wambewo village LC I Chairperson in Bungokho sub-county says that on top of paralysing business, the appalling roads forces them to carry patients and expectant mothers on their heads to the hospital because vehicles and motorcycles can no longer reach their area when it rains.
Tonny Wamakale, the Mbale District LC 5 Councilor representing Bungokho acknowledges the challenge of poor roads under ACDP saying the procurement is done at the centre and some contractors don’t have capacity to handle, which he blames on limited funding from the Central government.
He asks residents to remain calm, saying they are doing everything possible to fix the roads and there is special need of consideration for the areas in the mountains.
Mbale is one of the districts that received road equipment from the Transport and Works Ministry to improve their road network. The equipment includes Water Bowser, Wheel loader, Grader and compactor, which are available and need routine Maintenance.