The road maintenance backlog: A cause for concern
Budget Monitoring and Accountability Unit
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Uganda’s classified road network funded by the Uganda Road Fund (URF) is 107,020Km (URF, 2013). These are broken down as 20,552Km for Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and 86,468Km for Districts, Urban and Community Access Roads (DUCAR) under the Local Governments’ jurisdiction. These roads are one of the country’s main assets, generating millions of dollars in revenue every year through the commercial activities that they make possible. However, some of the country’s road network is in a serious state of disrepair due to poor maintenance – a fact that is devaluing this important resource and limiting revenue generating commerce. For instance, the proportion of the district unpaved roads in fair to good condition was estimated at 61% by Financial Year (FY) 2017/18 against a target of 65%, while that of national roads was at 83% against a target of 70%. Recent studies in Uganda indicate that the routine and periodic maintenance cost for the entire life of a road is estimated to be between 2% to 3% of the initial capital investment. However, delayed maintenance is most likely to cause this amount to increase. The failure to adequately maintain the road infrastructure creates a backlog. This policy brief delves into the extent of the backlog in Uganda, and the future consequences if the strategic interventions as proposed in the recommendations are not implemented within the midterm.