By Steven Enatu
The poor road networks in Kapelebyong District is greatly affecting the delivery of services to the community with the latest government program dubbed Parish Development Model feared to hit a snag.
The poor state of rural road networks not only affects transport of goods and services but also the economic growth.
Kapelebyong has a total of over 200km road network under Uganda Road Fund many of which were opened during the LRA insurgency as community access roads but up to date have not been worked on.
The roads are unpaved with no marram, dangerous with potholes and due to heavy rains, they are hardly navigable because of mudslides.
John William Ejiet, the Production officer Kapelebyong said that with transport being the enabler of service delivery, the poor road infrastructure in Kapelebyong is greatly going to undermine the success of Parish Development Model.
“Transport is one factor for you to deliver services, so for that matter looking at the road networks here, it’s going to hamper the success of PDM. Aware that here the reliable means is Motor vehicles for our staff to go to the communities for meetings,” he said.
The two most affected Sub counties are Okungur and Kapelebyong.
Ejiet is worried that if the current rains continue, the two sub counties may be cut off completely from access to services.
“We ask the Government to intervene and better the lives of communities in these areas by working on the road networks if we are to realize the positive impact of PDM,” he appealed.
The Parish Development Model commonly referred to as the magic bullet to end poverty is a Government strategy or approach for organizing and delivering public and private sector interventions for wealth creation and employment generation at the parish level as the lowest economic planning unit. This will ensure support for more Ugandans to increase their demand for goods and services.
Roads are the arteries through which the economy pulses. By linking producers to markets, workers to jobs, students to school, and the sick to hospitals, roads are vital to any development agenda.
Francis Akorikin, the Local Council Five Chairperson Kapelebyong District said that the greatest challenge they face is the meager resource that government sends through URF citing example of 14million sent for this current quarter with 1million already conditioned to be spent on stationery.
“As a district we budgeted and planned to use 179million this year but what the government gives us can only enable us to execute 50% of our expected budget. The community may think that it’s us who have failed to do our work as local government but its central government failing us. Now the 14 million they sent to Kapelebyong, as a district we don’t have the rummer truck, hiring it alone is 4million, the balance you have to pay workers and buy fuel,” he stressed.
He noted that if the government wants the Parish Development model to prosper, they should embark on building road infrastructure by improving their budgetary allocation for it.
“We tried as a local government to advise the government that out of the 100million for PDM, let 20million be allocated for road construction. This would boost development, you need to stimulate development of key infrastructure to spur growth, How do you transform people into money making economies in this kind of poor road infrastructure, people don’t have electricity etc. We must be dreaming.” He said.
Akorikin added that it cost around 30million to construct a km of standard marram road and this would mean that the money they have will be used to spot and do road repair of Amasiniko to Okobui which is currently in bad shape.
Rural roads are the backbone of the transportation system in the World especially in developed economies.
They are important to all road users such as residents, recreationists and resource managers because they make social services accessible.
This is the reason why Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) number 9 emphasizes physical access through improvement of rural roads; Industry, innovation and infrastructure (UNDP, 2015).
This is one of the major drivers for achieving some of the other SDGs such as; ending poverty in all its forms. Therefore the importance of rural roads extends to all aspects of economic and social development of rural communities and the entire country (World Bank Group, 2016).