July 15— The government will look into raising more cash for maintenance following increased dissatisfaction among the public with many of the country’s roads. Road users from eastern Ugandan were the least satisfied while those from the west were the highly satisfied users.
Finance minister, Matia Kasaija, was speaking at the launch of the 2016 road user satisfaction survey that was carried out by CrossRoads.
“On issues of roads, we are also the same page. Roads are the main catalyst for development and economic growth hence the need for us to continue prioritizing our infrastructure development,” Kasaija said.
Commissioned by the Uganda Road Fund (URF), the survey showed that 62.7% of Ugandans interviewed were dissatisfied with the road experience due to several factors.
Foremost was the complaint that numerous Ugandan roads are too narrow, marred by too many potholes and frequently ruined by poor drainage.
The URF would be the top beneficiary in any increased money made available. Its existence was based on the understanding it would fund routine and periodic maintenance of public roads mainly from road user charges. It became operational in January 2010.
The number of satisfied road users dropped from 53.% in 2015 to 37.3% in 2016. The URF executive director, Eng. Micheal M.Odongo said the report was an indicator for the government to increase on money for maintaining and rehabilitating roads.
“Most of the factors stated are just maintenance factors. Issues of dust, potholes can easily be dealt with if there was money to do the maintenance. We ask the government to look into these factors and respect the views of these road users and avail the funds to make the road experience better one for Ugandans,” Odongo said.
The survey which started in 2012, is done annually by CrossRoads with support from the United Nations and DfID, the British aid agency.
Other findings were that only 48.3% of Ugandans felt safe on the roads, a fall from the 51% in 2015. Reasons included bad driving by motorists, congestion caused by boda bodas (motorcycle taxis), lack of pathways and potholes.