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Wednesday, 25 August 2004
  Parliament met at 10.48 a.m. in Parliament House, Kampala.
(The Deputy Speaker, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, in the Chair.)
The House was called to Order.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Chairperson, Committee on Works, Housing and Communications. 
MR WAKIKONA: I have something of urgency and (Interruption)
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: But you did not notify me.
MR WAKIKONA: You did not communicate from the Chair but you forgive me. I have to present it; people are dying.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Has the volcano erupted?
MR DAVID WAKIKONA (Manjiya County, Mbale): If you give me a chance, I will tell you the details. Thank you, Madam Speaker. It has already been reported to this House that Mount Elgon is erupting any time. Yesterday on the other side of Mount Elgon, the Kenya Government moved all their people 70 miles away from the mountain. I went to the First Deputy Prime Minister, who is also Minister for Disaster Preparedness, and asked him what he is doing on the Uganda side. He told me, Mr Wakikona, you advise people when they see gas, to run away. I find this advice very unprofessional because where would they run to?
Secondly, even if the matter has not been confirmed precisely that the thing is erupting tomorrow or the day after, preparedness means pre; you do something before it happens. So, I am requesting that the Government, through the First Deputy Prime Minister, takes very urgent steps to make sure that these people are put somewhere safe until it is confirmed that there will be no eruption. Otherwise, we are likely  Manjiya alone has about 200,000 people, and you know it is down in the valley. When magma runs down, all those will be buried. That is the urgent request I put to government, that these people should at least be put in a safe place while we watch the situation especially considering that our counterparts on the other side have moved people to Kakamega, which is 70 miles away. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Honourable members, this matter came up first on Monday and we had indicated that on Thursday there would be information from the Government about it. But in view of what is happening, could the Minister for Environment please tell us what is really going on? What is your seismic report on the possibility of volcanic eruptions?
THE MINISTER OF STATE, ENVIRONMENT (Maj. Gen. Odongo Jeje): Hon. Speaker, thank you very much. I do not have a final position but I have preliminary information on the situation that we are talking about. The place, which is affected, is called Kapkwen; it is not in Kapchorwa, it is on the other side of Kenya. The place, which is affected, has a diameter of about five meters and within that area the temperature has now risen to about 170 degrees on the surface of the ground. Within that same locality, there is a cave and there are gases coming out from the cave. Within that locality there is also a lake called Lake Barongo, and within this lake there are still gases coming out. This is the preliminary information and there are investigations, I have indicated.
As to whether these are indicators of a pending eruption is yet to be determined and I hope tomorrow when I make a full statement I will be able to say, Yes, these are signs of an eruption or No, there is likely to be no eruption. But that is the preliminary information I have as of now. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (Mrs Hope Mwesigye): Thank you, Madam Speaker. Unfortunately the Minister in charge of Disaster Preparedness is still in a Cabinet meeting. But this morning in Cabinet this issue was discussed and we were informed that yesterday a team of experts was sent to Mount Elgon to assess the situation and as we talk now government is making necessary preparations to see how to deal with the evacuation of the people. I thank you.
MR NANDALA MAFABI (Budadiri County West, Sironko): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I am getting worried with both ministers statements. I thought we had technical people, well trained, well informed, who would be able to come up with the results? I have discovered the Minister in charge of Disaster Preparedness goes there when people are already dead. Is it a deliberate policy that until all the mountainous people are dead, that is when you will be able to move in?
It is common knowledge; 170 degrees centigrade is dangerous enough. Madam Speaker, I propose that the Ministry in charge of Disaster Preparedness gives us an alternative today because we are not so sure about tonight. I got a call this morning, people are in a desperate state and we need your help. Thank you.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Honourable members, you know that we have a bit of a problem with our populations in Kapchorwa, in Mbale and also other areas, because they compete for livelihood with the national parks, the forests and so on and so forth. So, if the little land they have is going to be taken over by the eruptions, adequate and very urgent arrangements need to be made to evacuate them.
MS ALICE ALASO (Woman Representative, Soroti): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am glad that the Executive is going to come up here tomorrow to make a statement on the threat in the Elgon area. You might recall that when the report on the humanitarian situation was presented, one of the issues that were noted was to do with the landslides in Manjiya and the victims of those landslides. The Office of the Prime Minister, especially the Department of Disaster Preparedness, was requested to come back to this House and present a report or at least inform the House on what has been done to address the plight of those people but up to today nothing has been reported to this House.
Madam Speaker, I therefore wish to request that when this report comes up tomorrow, the Office of the Prime Minister would also take care to inform us on what they have done to address the plight of the landslide victims that was earlier requested of them. Thank you.
DR KAPKWOMU NDIWA (Kongasis County, Kapchorwa): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I had a chance to talk to the District Commissioner of Kenya about the impending eruption as stated; and that was by telephone conversation. He assured us that there has been a team of experts from Nairobi, which had visited the scene, and they were not convinced that there was any likelihood of volcanic activity going on, but further investigations would be taking place. That does not mean that we have to take chances.
I wish our meteorologists could actually have a word with the Kenyan experts who visited the scene yesterday. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Okay, since we have 24 hours I hope that tomorrow we shall have a comprehensive report on the likely effects of mountainous activity and also the possibility of moving people, if there is a problem.
MR ODONGA OTTO: I have an important issue here.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Honourable members, why do you not notify me in advance? You know the rules, and I have been sitting in my office since 9.00 Oclock. The rules say you must notify me before 11.00 Oclock when you have something urgent to say. Let us deal with the Budget.
THE CHAIRPERSON, SESSIONAL COMMITTEE ON WORKS, HOUSING AND COMMUNICATIONS (Mr Nathan Byanyima): Thank you Madam Speaker and honourable members. In conformity with Article 90 and in accordance with our Rules of Procedure, rule 154, I wish to present the Report of the Sessional Committee on Works, Housing and Communications on the Ministerial Policy Statement and Budget Estimates for Financial Year 2004/05, for your consideration and adoption.
The report is a short one but I would request members that you have had the report with you, we can go through it very fast and react to it. At the same time I want to appeal to members that there is more information in the policy statements. There are two volumes: volume I is for major policy of the ministry plus the ground work to be done whereby you would see major works, which will anticipate work in this particular financial year, and then volume II shows the performance. But this one has the ministerial structure. It shows who is who in the Ministry of Works, plus the work that was supposed to be done, which is at the end of the report so that every Member of Parliament can be able to know which road in your district or in your constituency is going to be done.
This sector, as you all know, is responsible for road infrastructure, development and maintenance in the country; transport, planning and regulation. It is also the domain of the housing policy. The sector also houses the communication policy and regulates all operators in the communication industry to ensure equity, standards, regional balance and sustainable development.
The method used is the usual one. We analysed the policy statement, made field visits to Bugiri, Hoima, and Kiboga and Hoima roads. We discussed it with the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, who is also the chairman of the steering committee road sector development programme. We also met ministers and technical staff and we interfaced and received memoranda from Members of Parliament for the road words in their constituencies. We also had thorough consultancy on the progress of the development of the national transport master plan.
On the basis of those visits and interactions, the committee appreciated a number of key milestones registered in the sector, and proceeded to make a number of observations and recommendations. Among the key milestones we have formulation of strategic investment plans. This sector has strategic investment plans, which all given the funds I think it would be able to deliver.
One of them is a ten-year road sector development programme, which will provide a sound road network by upgrading 1,672 kilometers of gravel roads to bitumen standard; construction of 21 kilometers of new roads and reconstruction of 490 kilometers of paved road. It will also establish a strong road administration and promote the development of the local construction industry.
Some of the projects that have been implemented or are in advanced stages are shown in the table on page 2.
We also have a ten-year district roads investment programme whose objectives are to improve access to rural and economically productive areas and to gradually build up the district road network planning and management capabilities. This total investment is about US $467 million, including about US $35.5 million investment for the dilapidated Kampala city roads.
Another one is the national transport master plan, including a master plan for the greater Kampala metropolitan area. Other investment plans include:
1. Inland water transport project,
2. Axle load control programme,
3. A 20-year investment programme for Entebbe International Airport,
4. National plan of action for human settlements development; and
5. Information and communication technology policy implementation strategy.
The investment plans are important for monitoring and evaluation and they guide in effective resource allocation; and:
i. Maintenance of the entire road network and bridges to motorable conditions.
ii. Procurement of equipment for districts. The ministry has consistently procured road equipment e.g. graders as per policy for each district in Uganda so that maintenance of urban and feeder roads is not compromised. For example Madam Speaker, on Friday, 27th of August the ministry will be distributing road equipment to districts of Wakiso, Mayuge and Kayunga and the process will continue.
iii. There is also procuring a ship for Kalangala islands. The Minister of Works launched the assembling of the ship at Portbell early this month and the ship is expected to be finalized in March next year. At least the people of Kalangala will now have safe means of transport with this project. The committee believes that after that ship is built, they could focus on other lakes like Lake Kyoga, Lake Albert and Lake George.
iv. Under air transport, last financial year alone seven Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) were concluded between Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, India, Germany, Iran, and DRC while that of Rwanda is being reviewed and that of South Africa is being finalized.
v. There is phenomenal growth in the communications sector. The sector has registered tremendous growth and the committee got assurance that by July 2005 all sub-counties in Uganda will have some form of communication facility with the outside world.
We made some observations and recommendations in each sub-sector, beginning with transport.
The transport sub-sector contributes immensely to the economic growth and poverty eradication in the country. An efficient transport infrastructure is vital to support economic growth and improvement of the quality of life of the population. The transport sub-sector policy aims at promoting efficient, safe and effective transport services to provide effective support for increased agricultural and industrial production, increased trade and tourism; and provide support to social and administrative services.
There are a number of observations we made but I will scan through them:
The committee observed that detailed information was lacking on the performance of the district and urban roads. It is not possible to establish which districts or regions are performing efficiently and effectively. However, it is gratifying that the Minister of Works is preparing an inventory on roads to be upgraded, from district roads to national roads, and the committee was of the view that we begin with one road from each constituency so that every Member of Parliament has a road to bring him to the main road to Parliament.
The recurrent budget of the sector has over time stabilized while the development budget to the sector - in percentage terms - has been going down. And while the budget to the sector is decreasing, the expectations and demands of the people are increasing and the presidential pledges for road construction are also rising. So, we are really at a loss in the sector. The fact is that this particular sector has no private people coming in. We will not compare it with Health or Education whereby private people are going in. The Government has been going it alone and yet the funds are going down.
Madam Speaker, the high cost of road works has continued to concern the committee. The committee learnt with appreciation that a study on the unit cost of road works is underway and would be completed before the end of this year. However, other concerns remain in terms of cost overruns and time revision of project implementation, which remain a cause of hemorrhage in the sector.
The committee observed that quality management must go hand in hand with cost management. The committee recommends that the ministry should publish market rates for materials in road construction to guide the districts.
Secondly, the ministry should step up its monitoring and evaluation mechanism, to be more efficient. The committee recommends that the Ministry of Finance releases funds to the Ministry of Works to purchase vehicles for station engineers so that they are able to effectively monitor road programmes in their areas.
Madam Speaker, road reserve policy. One of the major hindrances and cost to road works in this country is the element of compensation to property owners. Government has got to secure land from private owners before it makes or expands a road or even for purposes of extracting murram.
However, the committee observed the following weaknesses with regard to protection of the road reserves:
1. Even where government has made compensation, like on Entebbe road, those compensated have not been directed to leave the road reserve, and therefore could claim compensation again in the event of future expansion of the road.
2. Even those who have encroached on the road reserve like the owner of Jovenna Petrol Depot at Namanve, which is few meters from the main road, have not been brought to book; neither have their properties been demolished.
3. On top of that, Madam Speaker, the Government does not normally own titles to its roads. So, it remains a problem to us.
The committee recommends that the Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications should be more vigilant in the protection of the road reserves. Road reserves should be gazetted and the public sensitized against encroachment on road reserves.
Madam Speaker, honourable members, we looked at traffic congestion in Kampala City. The committee noted that Kampala City continues to suffer from traffic congestion. In addition, Kampala as a transit city suffers from transit traffic. The committee observed that whereas the Kampala-Northern by-pass, which will be inaugurated tomorrow, Thursday, would initially alleviate traffic jams in the city; this would be a temporary situation since Mukono and Kampala are soon joining up. In addition to the Kampala City Council steps of converting a number of roads into one-way traffic, the committee recommends that government should do the following:
1. It should encourage big buses as opposed to matatus as a means of public transport in the city, and government should facilitate core investment in this aspect, as it might be too costly for any investor.
2. Construct fly-overs on busy junctions.
3. Widen city roads and patch potholes.
4. Open passenger trains between Mukono and Busega.
5. Construct taxi parks in the outskirts of the city where matatus could stop.
6. Restrict parking on certain roads.
7. Rehabilitate traffic signals in the city.
8. Demarcate laybys (bus stop bays) because everyone comes from his office and stops the taxi in the middle of the road, which brings about congestion.
9. Traffic segregation should be provided for and enforced on all urban roads. For example, heavy trucks should not pass through the city centre.
On road safety, Madam Speaker, the committee noted that interventions to reduce accidents are not adequately articulated. There is no holistic and integrated plan involving all stakeholders like the Ministry of Health ambulance system, Police and civil society to address road accidents decisively. You will realize while we are spending a lot of money on HIV and Malaria, accidents are depriving us of our people and we need to pay a lot of attention to this particular department. Some of the institutions in place like the National Road Safety Council and the Transport Licensing Board, which would spearhead this challenge, are grossly under-funded. The committee, therefore, recommends that funding to these two bodies be increased to spearhead the new safety measures.
On the road projects, we picked two road projects, which we visited, because there were some problems with them. On the Malaba-Busia-Bugiri road, the committee noted that this road failed when it had not yet been handed over by the contractor, Sterling/Straberg joint venture. The road was rehabilitated at a cost of about US $20 million, through a grand from the Germany Government. The committee carried out an on-spot assessment of this project and established the following:
1. 50.5 kilometers (one lane) of the road (out of 82 kilometers) had failed prematurely.
2. Government had authorized the consultant, Gauff Ingenuire to hire a consultant to investigate the causes and failures and TRL Consultants from the United Kingdom were hired for the job. They had produced a draft report on what went wrong but not who was responsible.
3. Government and the project consultant had launched traffic surveys on the road to narrow down on who was responsible for the failures.
4. Meanwhile, remedial works had commenced on eight kilometers, that is one lane of the badly affected road pre-financed by the contractor, implementing the recommendations of the consultant who investigated the failures. Madam Speaker, this particular road failed on the left hand side as you leave Malaba, which shows that where the traffic is loaded, it is the side that actually failed prematurely.
The committee appreciates the efforts the Ministry has undertaken to investigate the causes of the early failure of the road. The committee recommends that the minister reports to this august House on his findings as soon as possible. In the meantime, the committee recommends that two functional weighbridges should be placed at Malaba and Busia to stop overloaded trucks from damaging our roads.
Busunju - Kiboga Hoima Road Project:
The committee noted that this project was behind schedule, the work started in 2001 and was expected to have been completed by July this year but they informed us that if resources were available, work would be complete within 15 months.
The committee learnt about the following problems in the project:
i. The contractor was experiencing financial difficulties.
ii. The alternative approaches of executing the work, like sub-contracting to other willing companies and/or using alternative stabilization of the base by mechanical stabilization rather than lime stabilization, which is provided in the contract, were being examined by the employer before taking a decision.
The committee was assured that everything possible was being done to ensure that the taxpayers of Uganda do not get a raw deal. Meanwhile, the committee will continue to closely engage all the concerned parties and monitor development to ensure quick action on the project.
Expansion of the railway line to Juba:
Yesterday, Madam Speaker, the Committee of Finance elaborately explained the Railways Corporation because it is being prepared for privatization, but the Committee of Works is greatly appreciative of the renewed interests of government in railway transport as exemplified by the opening of the Tororo-Mbale-Kumi-Soroti line, which had been rendered inactive for many years.
Following the return of peace to Southern Sudan and strategic business opportunities available there, government should move quickly to connect its rail line to Juba. In the same vein, connecting of Kasese line to Eastern Congo is the right thing for government to do. The committee strongly recommends that government sources funds to develop the Juba line.
Poor road maintenance culture:
The committee continues to observe with concern the poor road maintenance culture by both the central government and the local authorities. Potholes are not patched as a matter of urgency and when attempts are made, the bases of the road are already extensively damaged. This is in addition to traffic jams and accidents that are caused due to poorly maintained roads.
The committee recommends that the ministry and local authorities, especially Kampala City Council and the municipalities of Masaka, Jinja, Mbale and Gulu, should be given more funds so that they may in turn move swiftly and decisively to repair potholes. There may be need to study the re-introduction of road gangs for these kinds of spot road maintenance.
Performance of PAF funds on roads:
Information on PAF funds on road maintenance in the districts is very scanty. More information is required on resources that go to districts for road maintenance for example PAF funds, PMA funds, LGDP funds, all in the name of road maintenance. There is a danger of misuse of these funds through similar accountabilities by district authorities. The Committee on Local Government Accounts should examine this matter closely.
Madam Speaker, honourable members, we found that there are underserved areas. The committee was concerned that investment plans in the sector had not adequately catered for regions like Karamoja, Kisoro and Bundibugyo. The committee recommends that more investments should be made in these regions.
Communications sub-sector:
The communications sub-sector comprises telecommunications, ICT and postal services. The liberalization of the sub-sector has brought about the establishment of the Uganda Communications Commission as an independent regulator of the sub-sector.
Then, we had the splitting of the previously Uganda Posts and Telecommunications Corporation into Uganda Posts Limited, Uganda Telecom and Post Bank Limited.
For telecommunications infrastructure development, there continues to be a steady increase in the rolling out of services but promotion of ICT requires very heavy investment and physical infrastructure for which funds have not been availed. We made a number of observations on this sub-sector:
One of them is that the duopoly being enjoyed by MTN and UTL is coming to a close in July 2005. The Transport and Communications Directorate in the Ministry should now be preparing for opening up of the market to more competitors in the provision of telecommunications services. In this regard the committee is concerned about the policies, and the enabling law to open up from duopoly to competition is very slow.
The ICT policy, which the committee regards as an important policy to provide a framework for the growth of ICT in Uganda, is delaying to come on stream. The committee urges government to deal with the challenges and remove the bottlenecks blocking its delivery.
Madam Speaker, on the economic regulation of communications operators, prices and tariffs of communication services have remained high. The billing rate of one minute has remained problematic with a lot of concern that a minute is equal to 3040 seconds. There are serious concerns that customers are not getting value for their money in terms of airtime.
The Uganda Communications Commission, the regulator was found not to be in a prepared state to crack down on this illegality. For example it would be very unaffordable for an average Ugandan to sustain inquiry or conversation on phone for ten minutes.
The committee noted that there is limited national infrastructure for communication services in Uganda especially for fixed line infrastructure. While the two operators MTN and UTL are obligated by the licence to give us fixed phones, MTN has 600,000 mobile subscribers and 10,000 fixed lines, and UTL has 286,156 mobile subscribers and 57,779 fixed subscribers. This means the two providers are going in for mobile and not fixed phones.
We also looked at the absence of a national competition law in Uganda, the anti-trust legislation. In an environment where the market forces are not strong enough to deter the emergence of monopolies or oligopolies like in the communications sector, there is urgent need to enact anti-trust laws to guard against collusion by the few but powerful operators.
National services providers compliance with the licence obligations: Madam Speaker and honourable members, the committee noted that the two national providers, MTN and UTL, had not yet covered some counties as demanded by their license obligation. However, the UCC argued that the cut off date would be July 2005, when penalties will be imposed. The committee insists that the rollout to the counties should be expedited without awaiting recourse to the above penalties.
Madam Speaker, I wish to lay on the Table - because we could not get photocopying services - the list of rollout of MTN in the whole country, as of March 2004. Later the secretarial services will be able to avail these copies to members for them to see that UTL and MTN have not been able to cover the whole country, as the licence obligates them.

Uganda Rural Communication Development Programme (URCDP):

Madam Speaker, questions of transparency were raised in respect of criteria for rollout of services under the RCDP. The committee asked about the criteria used to set up start-ups in the under-served areas, as some areas in the North were not covered at all, like Dodoth County. However, the committee was informed that at the end of the three phases of rollout, all sub-counties and districts would have some form of communication service either by national providers or under RCDP. All in all, the committee noted with appreciation the tremendous growth in the communications sector.
The committee noted the high cost of civil works in the installation of communication services, like when they are laying fiber optic cables. The committee noted that as a result communication services had remained costly. Unfortunately, such civil works duly damage roads. This scenario is also relevant in the provision of utility services like water and electricity.
Therefore, Madam Speaker, the committee recommends:
1. That the ICT policy should be expedited to guide the growth of the sector and also regulate ICT content, especially pornography.
2. The committee recommends that whenever roads are being constructed like Jinja-Bugiri road, which is on course now; Kampala-Kabale, which will be next year; and Busunju-Kiboga-Hoima, conduits must be laid for future use by utility providers to reduce on the cost of installation and damage to the roads.
We also touched on the housing sub-sector. Madam Speaker, we know housing is a basic need but in this country we do not look at it as a basic need. Over 60 percent of residents in urban areas stay in slums. Slum settlements are characterized by poor sanitation and high incidences of epidemics. There is, therefore, need for public investment to upgrade the slum settlements.
In addition, there is the challenge of housing the 800,000 internally displaced persons arising out of the insurgency in Northern and Northeastern Uganda.
The major constraints in housing development have been the high cost of construction materials. The committee feels that urban areas lack planning and development control. An unfavorable land tenure system has also continued to contribute to slum development.
So the committee made some observations on the housing sub-sector:
" The sub-sector continues to report yearly that it looks after government buildings, but it was found that this only applies to Parliament and State House.
" For the last five years the ministry has been developing the Building Control Bill; we are eagerly waiting for it.
" The housing projects, which had been started with the funding of DANIDA in Mbale, Jinja and Arua, have failed to expand beyond those areas. So, it is a concern of the committee.
" On the civil servants pool houses, there is no clear plan on where and how the Shs 25 billion realized from the sale of pool houses is going to be deployed to address the concerns of the present and future civil servants who did not benefit from the pool houses.
The committee was informed that part of this fund was put at the disposal of Housing Finance Company of Uganda, to lend to the public for housing development. The committee was further informed that the Ministry of Finance has insisted that the funds must be lent to civil servants at market rates. The committee finds this approach insensitive to the plight of the present and future civil servants, who with all fairness are supposed to benefit from this fund.
" The committee observed that there is urgent need for the Ministry in charge of Housing to come up with interventions to empower the rural poor, in view of the impeding exhaustion of grass, with appropriate housing technologies.
" While the committee recognizes the importance of the housing sub-sector, it is disappointed that over the years the sector has been neglected. The committee urges government to reconsider adequately funding this key sub-sector.
" The committee noted with concern that in spite of recommendations to develop strategic investment plans for this vital sub-sector, which has direct linkage with poverty reduction, no tangible progress has been reported.
Madam Speaker, recommendations on the housing sub-sector:
" The committee recommends that the Building Control Bill should be expedited and brought to Parliament within this current financial year.
" The committee has for the last four years been requesting for increased funding for the housing sub-sector without success. It is hoped, Madam Speaker, that this will be the last time this recommendation is repeated. The committee, therefore, recommends that funding to the housing sub-sector be significantly increased to enable it accomplish its programmes.
" The committee recommends that the civil servants, who have never benefited from the pool housing scheme, access funds from the sale of pool houses at a modest interest rate.
Madam Speaker, we come to budget requirements for the sector. It is evident that the sector is grossly under-funded given the mandate it is expected to execute and peoples expectations, plus presidential pledges.
The committee observed that the budget ceiling or resources given to the sector are far short of the budgeted estimates. To make matters worse, there are usually budget shortfalls or cuts in the development budgets. For instance, while Parliament approved Shs 138 billion for development expenditure for last financial year, only Shs 109 billion was released. Even the releases were erratic, with no money released for the month of July and September 2003.
Madam Speaker, if you take this particular financial year, only 48 percent of the budget requirements for development expenditure have been provided. So, the ministry expects that the Ministry of Finance will consider to revise upwards the development expenditure for the ministry in order to realise its planned activities. This scenario of under-funding, shortfalls and erratic releases of the meager resources to the transport sector has far reaching consequences to the economy namely:
1. Government efforts to address poverty are frustrated, market accessibility is hindered, tourism development is curtailed and access to health and administrative access is limited.
2. Lack of maintenance interventions results in increased vehicle operating costs and increase in travel time.
3. Delays in project implementation and completion of road works result in paying interest and penalties, and loss of value through deterioration of work already done but not finished.
4. Failure to raise relatively small counterpart funding for donor supported projects reduces governments credibility thereby reducing sources of funding for new road works.
5. Low standard of some road works because of the need to spread thinly to cover the entire roadwork and restore it to motorable condition. On this issue, with little funds the sector has been moving all over the country to spread thinly because of the little funds so that they could cover the whole country. But we would advise that if there are no funds it would be better to spread thickly on a few projects, complete them and have value rather going all over the country. But since this country is under-developed, it is important for the Minister of Finance to reconsider and possibly get part of the big money. Yesterday he read out the development expenditure for the Ministry of Works.
Madam Speaker, the under-performance of the sector affects the implementation of the presidential manifesto with so many road pledges that have remained unfulfilled.
In view of the above, the committee recommends strongly that the strategic importance of the sector in the whole economic development and poverty reduction should be matched with the priority that it deserves.
The committee commends the Ministry of Finance for its realisation that this sector deserves more resources and taking a decision to exempt roads and bridges contracts from VAT, which resources are estimated at about Shs 38 billion. These could be used for counterpart funding.
Madam Speaker, the committee wishes to appreciate the co-operation received from the minister, technical staff and heads of departments for the assistance they provided to us in giving us information and being in our marathon meetings.
The committee recommends that Parliament should approve the following expenditure for the Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications for financial year 2004/5, to fund the various programmes and activities under the sector:
Recurrent Expenditure, Shs 27,045,825,000.
Development Expenditure, Shs 367,667,555,000.
Madam Speaker and honourable members, I beg to move that this honourable House adopts this report and approve the funds. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you very much, chairperson and your committee for a very comprehensive report. I can confirm that the report has been signed by more than one-third of the members of the committee. It, therefore, fulfills the requirements of rule 170(1) of our Rules of Procedure. So, make comments, seek clarifications, but I will limit you to three minutes each.
MR TOM KAYONGO (Lubaga Division North, Kampala): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I beg your indulgence that you first of all allow me to inform the House of the tragic accident that happened in my constituency yesterday at about 11.30 a.m. A primary school, which was poorly constructed, its storied building collapsed and there were primary seven children doing coaching. I am glad that the Minister of Education in charge of Primary Education is here.
Madam Speaker, there were pupils doing coaching and the contractors who were building. They were doing some repairs, trying to make space for a library, and it collapsed. As it has been reported in the newspapers, two lives were lost. Probably, I would like to ask the ministry to stop coaching because it is not necessary. Well, also Kampala City Council failed to supervise the builders  (Interruption)
THE MINISTER OF STATE, PRIMARY EDUCATION (Mrs Namirembe Bitamazire): Thank you very much honourable member for giving way. Madam Speaker, the information I am giving is that the Ministry of Education and Sports has learnt with great sorrow of the loss of life under such circumstances.
Secondly, a process has been set in motion to find out exactly what was going on, whether that school is government or private, whether the building is under SFG programme, and so on and so forth. As soon as we get more information about the details pertaining to the issue, we shall inform you.
Then thirdly, Madam Speaker (Interruption)
MS NAMAGGWA: Madam Speaker, the minister is wondering whether the school was private or public? I am wondering whether somebody from government would be supervising or overseeing the private schools, or we have different agents for the private and public schools. Is it not the same ministry to do this? Should we have a different agent to do so?
I am asking this question because in Masaka we recently had a toilet, which had just been built. It collapsed and a child died in school and we have never had a report from the Ministry of Education. Is it the same Ministry to do the overseeing of the two institutions: private and public schools? I just want to be guided so that we make reference to the right institution.
MS ALASO: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am quite lost. I know that there is a policy that there should be no coaching but I am wondering whether it is really the coaching that is responsible for the collapse of this building. I would rather that the honourable member in-charge of the affected constituency redirects the debate to address the question of the building because that building would have collapsed on any other person whether it is the children or women or whoever else.
It was a dangerous building and it partly reminds me that at one time I brought it out that in my constituency there is a school where the walls have totally cracked, Serere Primary School. They are all cracked and any time now Serere Primary School will also, God forbid, collapse on children and we will wonder whether it is the coaching or the building. Thank you.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, honourable members, let us focus on the lives of all Ugandans whether they are in private or government schools, or they were undergoing coaching or not. We have had incidences where walls collapse on people who are not school children. Let us focus on the standards of buildings in this country generally, please.
MRS BITAMAZIRE: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. The relevancy of whether the school was a government or private one is in the fact that many private sector participants have been putting up buildings for housing or shops or anything and then finally they turn them into schools. So, we have to find out exactly, was that building being constructed for a school or was it just being converted into one? So, whatever information we get will be very relevant for any follow up action on this matter.
Finally on coaching, Madam Speaker, I would like to inform this august House that the Ministry of Education and indeed government does not recommend and support coaching. That should be known. So, whatever other issues are related, I want to state the fact that we do not recommend it because we think that the children should get their time to relax and recreate and come back fresh. But many other subscribers and stakeholders are persisting and sometimes they hide in unauthorized buildings and houses. I thank you.
MR KAYONGO: Thank you, honourable minister. Madam Speaker (Interruption)
MR AWUZU: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am rising to support my colleague, the Minister of State for Primary Education, in that importance of what she said about whether the school belongs to government or it is a private school. If it is a private school and it is within Kampala City Council, then in the first place the building plans of that school should have been inspected and approved by Kampala City Council to ensure safety. So, if it is a private building then it is Kampala City Council, which should see that the drawings are correct, the foundations are correct, construction is correct up to completion and then up to occupation permit. And in that case, it would not involve the Ministry of Education.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Honourable Minister, but what happens when the same ministry licenses that institution?
MR AWUZU: Well, I am not aware whether it has been licensed or not. But definitely, when the ministry goes to license that school I believe, and I am sure they do go and inspect -(Interruption)
MS NAMAGGWA: Madam Speaker, I am trying to find out whether government should come here and lament about this inefficiency in terms of coordination. I would like, first of all, to say that actually we are very disappointed because inter-institutional arrangements are not there to help us to ensure that actually the economy and the society are properly served. Are you in order to tell us what you have not done with Kampala City Council, with Masaka Municipality and others? Really, we do not want to hear about what is happening; we want to hear about the safety of our people, which you have not catered for. Is he in order, Madam Speaker?
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: I think I had already made my ruling before you got up. Hon. Kayongo, please complete your points.
MR KAYONGO: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Probably let me also inform this House that this morning, I went to city council and I saw the Mayor. But they do not even have capacity to pull down the remaining structure. So, I would like to probably ask the Minister of Works to go and pull down that structure, which might be used when the school re-opens because the remaining structure is equally dangerous.
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Ministry of Works for the work done on our road between Bakuli - Namirembe and Wakaliga. I must appreciate, government through its wisdom with the Government of Japan, gave us a donation and we have a new road. However, the ministry had the obligation to work on the walk-side and they have not done it, and it is wearing away very fast. So, I wish to request the ministry to put in place some funds to work on this section.
Madam Speaker, my constituency is being affected by the Northern by-pass, and I am glad to say that most of the people have been compensated. There were some who had been missed and the ministry officials contacted them and I think their compensation is being worked out.
But there is a water source, used by the people in Kawaala to collect water and all the people around. But if that water source is closed, I do not know where we are going to fetch water from. So, when I met the people, therefore, they said the Government is going to provide an alternative water source. This work is to be inaugurated tomorrow but that one has not been provided.
Madam Speaker, I would also like to draw the attention of the Minister of Works to the fact that we had a round about at Nakulabye but it is no longer there. The honourable Minister knows this, and I thought it would be cited in his policy to work on that section between Nakulabye and Lubigi. It is full of potholes. That road is a government road it is not for KCC. So, I would like to ask the minister in charge really to help us with Nakulabye round about. That section is very bad, there is a terrible traffic jam and because the round about is almost cleaned off, people just cross. It is dangerous!
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Kayongo, the matters you are raising are bilateral; they are constituency matters. Do you not have time to go and see the Minister of Works and you discuss these details? They are really so bilateral. Now, what will I say about Wakaliga?
MR KAYONGO: But the minister has heard. Finally, Madam Speaker, the LGDP funds. Many times, whenever we talked about these funds, some of us have been misunderstood to the effect that probably because the sitting government in KCC is DP  but these are funds where people in Kampala District have missed out. You have seen what has gone on in Nakawa -(Interruption)
MR NANDALA: Thank you, Madam Speaker and my colleague. The clarification I want to seek from my friend is that, is this Local Government we are discussing now so that we can talk about LGDP, or we are discussing Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications?
MR KAYONGO: Madam Speaker, in this report, LGDP funds have been cited as one of those funds, which the ministry has lost. Madam speaker, with that I thank you very much.
MR MULENGANI: Well, I just wanted to give information emphasising that in the report, the Chairman emphasised LGDP and referred to Local Government Committee. So, whereas it was mentioned, it was not discussed wholly.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Now, honourable member, I appreciate that really you must air the issues of your constituency. But you are really making this a Lubaga matter and other people want to say a few other things. I am really encouraging you to meet the minister and his team. You live in Kampala, the ministry is partly here, partly in Entebbe. Please help us.
MRS DORA BYAMUKAMA (Mwenge County South, Kyenjojo): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the committee for the report, and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications for its commitment and swift responsiveness to issues raised by Members of Parliament; in particular, in respect to the Kyegegwa-Kyenjojo road, as well as the Kampala-Mityana road. More funds should be given to this ministry.
I have two issues I would like to raise in respect to the report. The first one is highlighted on page 10, number 13. The committee notes that there has been an effort to expand the railway line to Juba, and concludes by strongly recommending that Government sources funds to develop the Juba line.
I would like to get clarification from the committee especially, in respect to the fact that we have recently signed the East African Customs Union. Early this year, we signed the East African Customs Union and one of the issues that were raised at that particular meeting in Arusha was the transport network. Now, in light of this, the railway link was clearly identified as being very important. I would like to ask the committee, what happened to the East African Railway and Road Transport Plan especially, the Tanga  Musoma link? Would this not give Uganda an alternative route to the sea via Dar-as-salaam? How come the committee has not placed any emphasis on it in light of the fact that we are part of the East African Community, and that this is even maybe more important than the link to Juba which is also landlocked?
In addition to this, Madam Speaker, my second point is on the issue, which is raised on page 11 number 15, on the performance of PAF funds on roads. When you look at the introduction, the committee says: This sector is responsible for road infrastructure development and maintenance& ensure equity, standards, regional balance and sustainable development. But in this particular paragraph it says: More information is required on resources that go to districts for road maintenance, for example, PAF Funds, PMA, LGDP all in the name of road maintenance and that there is a danger of misuse of these funds through similar accountabilities by district authorities and the committee shifts its own responsibility to the Committee on Local Government Accounts to examine the matter closely.
I think this shifting of responsibility will not help us. We, as Members of Parliament, need this information on the amount of money that goes to the districts so that we can perform our oversight function. I am one of those Members of Parliament who, to some extent, have been frustrated because after getting a grader, you find that the district still continues to say that they do not have funds to work on these roads! And the issue, which was raised by the Chairperson of the Budget Committee on standards and value for money, still needs to be addressed. So, I would like to propose that the Committee on Works, Housing and Communications, the Committee on Public Service and Local Government and the Committee on Local Government Accounts should sit together with the ministries concerned in order to see how this information can be given to Parliament so that we, as Members of Parliament, can perform our oversight function. Because when the roads are not worked on it will be us, the Members of Parliament, who are blamed. Our roles are usually confused and, therefore, it is in our interest that we address this performance of funds on roads. I thank you.
MR JAMES KAKOOZA (Kabula County, Rakai): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to say bravo to the committee for the comprehensive work they have done but I need some few clarifications maybe from the minister.
Concerning PAF funds and the LGDP  actually, I happen to be on the Local Government Accounts Committee - you find that there is misuse and substitute of these PAF funds. But I would like to know, what happened to the inspectors, who could come from the central government to monitor these roads made by the districts? Formally, we had some inspectors who could inspect these roads and the use of this money within that district. When you compare the roads made by the central government and those by the districts, you find that the former are in better condition. So, I would advise that the component of this money, which is sent to the districts, could be withheld by the centre and then they do the work properly.
Then another comment is on page 13 on airtime, where the committee says that instead of one minute it is 30 seconds or 40 seconds. I would imagine if we have no anti-trust laws, a company just comes, invests and exploits all the profits and it is taken back without investing it here. I do not know whether ever since they made the agreements with these companies when they came in to invest, they have ever revisited and given advice on this or these companies to take some precautions.
Still on page 13, on communication development, I assume that when we passed last years Budget, we did exempt the optic fibres. So, I expected that the costs of using this airtime could have come down but they are still exploiting our people. We feel that the Minister of Communications should revisit these agreements, and do a bit more so that we can help our people to use airtime cheaply and very effectively. Thank you.
MRS MARY KAROORO OKURUT (Woman Representative, Bushenyi): Thank you, Madam Speaker. Let me also add my voice to those who are thanking the ministry for the job well done. At least now we have fewer potholes, which used to be as deep as graves.
Now, there is a point that they brought up, naming of roads. Madam Speaker, it is a scandal. When you look at the city there are very few roads, which have got proper names. Like where I stay, there was no name; I am the one who put up the signpost. And when I called the concerned parties I said, There is no name on this street. They said, But, Madam, everybody can see that this is a circular road so, you do not need a name. But if we are going to use our creative imagination to think about names, I think it is a tragedy. So, it should be a very strong recommendation that these names should be very clear.
On the housing sub-sector, the recommendation is very good, but we need to go further. Because the slums, the housing estates, for instance, the Naguru Police Station, there is always a flow of sewage, it is a perennial river and they have never corrected it. One time I went there. You find vegetables and maize growing and you think you are buying something healthy and it is not. So, if we can look at the sanitation and the sewage because really this is the identity card of the whole country. It will even chase away tourists when they come. So, Madam Speaker, I want to thank the committee but if they could give very strong recommendations on those two issues. I thank you.
MR DEUSDEDIT BIKWASIZEHI (Buhweju County, Bushenyi): I thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the chairman and his entire committee for the work well done. If you put a question to me now and you say, Bikwasizehi, what are the problems on the roads in your area? I would say that, The biggest problem is maintenance and I am happy it has been highly pointed out by the committee.
It is a shame, Madam Speaker, these roads were constructed and they are not properly maintained. In fact, I would like to pose a question and say, Of these monies that we are giving the sector, what is the percentage for the maintenance, or what is supposed to be the maintenance fund for these roads. These roads were constructed a long time ago, and it is a shame that we cannot maintain them!
Madam Speaker, I have got very high respect for the honourable Minister of Works and he happens to be my Crown Prince for my kingdom, but I do not know how I can exonerate him and his ministry from this problem of Malaba-Busia road. Because I imagine, the Ministry of Works should have a hand in approving the design of the road and then being there all the time doing continuous monitoring. I am actually surprised to see that some funds  a lot of money - are spent on hiring people to find out what happened. I also want to pose a question to him, What happened when you were approving the design of the road? And what happened when you were monitoring the construction of this road?
Madam Speaker, there is this use of Sector-Wide Approach - it is good. But as you can see - I think on page 13, it has been alluded to by hon. Dora Byamukama about different funds being used to construct roads. That means there is nobody in charge because a road is a road, whether it is constructed by PAF funds or by LGDP funds. Why do we not consolidate these roads and say, These are our roads and we say, Minister of Works, you are in charge of these roads and this money comes there so that you are accountable. We get someone to account for such funds. I think that is a problem when we continue like this.
Lastly, there is a tendency to concentrate on trunk roads. His Excellency, the President has been asking that you have a tarmac road passing through an area, but it has no economic significance. It does not stimulate economic development in the area where it passes. Studies have shown that trunk roads are just for hauling these big trucks, transporting these big people in their Pajeros and so on. But it is the feeder roads, which go to the producers in the countryside, that have a direct bearing on the economy because they are the ones which transport peoples produce, which transport products to the market. So, I am requesting that the ministry, apart from the trunk roads, takes keen interest, if we want to develop this country, in the feeder road sector. I thank you, Madam Speaker.
MR NDAWULA KAWEESI (Kiboga County West, Kiboga): Thank you so much, Madam Speaker. I wish to thank the chairman for the report. My remarks go first on page 10, the Busunju-Kiboga-Hoima road project. When you read that passage, they say the road should have been finished in January 2004 but it was not finished. I am interested to find out, who is picking the cost of the delay? Is it the contractor, the consultant or the ministry because we were expecting the road that was never delivered? We want to know the cause of that delay.
When you go further in the same passage, they indicate the problems, which were identified. Madam Speaker, how does the contractor experience financial difficulties? What does this one mean? That the employer is not paying, that it does not have the money, what are these financial difficulties? I would want the Chairman of the Committee and maybe the minister to help me understand it.
The next thing is saying that they are looking at The alternative approaches of executing the work like sub-contracting. Normally, this is a standard phrase in the contract document - how you sub-contract, whom you sub-contract, what you sub-contract out. So, how come it is now that they are looking at the project, which was supposed to have been finished in January?
Then the next part of that sentence says, or using alternative stabilisation of the base. Madam Speaker and honourable members, this road has been standing there since 1954. Really, for the Works people to say in 2004 that they do not know what stabilisation they should use for the base for it to be tarmacked, it is incredible! The contract was awarded. When we should have received the road, they are telling us they do not know what to use to stabilise. Really, I need those answers.
Madam Speaker, my next comment actually falls on what hon. Bikwasizehi was talking about on paragraph 15, performance of PAF funds. I think time has come that government must review its policy on some things. This thing they call sector-wide approach is just confusion now. Many of these products, which are technical - constructing a road is really a technical product. So, regardless of what the road does, someone who does it must have some engineering knowledge.
Now, when you say LDP funds, then there is PMA, what is the road money doing in a plan for modernising agriculture? The fact that the farmers need lorries to take their crops does not mean that they must construct that road. The fact that a local government is administering a particular region does not mean it must construct that road. It should be the Ministry of Works, the department of government charged with the roads, they have got all the good engineers. Actually even the Registrar of the Engineers Registration Board is in Ministry of Works. So, really I wish to request the ministry, and the Government for that matter, that some of these things need review. While there were very good catchwords by the World Bank, maybe they are really getting a little bit harder on us now.
Madam Speaker, I looked through the report - maybe I was not attentive when it was being presented - but there was little mention about the air transport. The air transport in this country is really a problem. To fly Entebbe/Nairobi and back, you pay $350 dollars - economy and it is 45 minutes. The same with Kenya Airways, to fly Nairobi/Mombasa or Nairobi/Zanzibar, 45 minutes they charge $150. So, we are talking about tourism. How can anybody pay that big premium? To fly Nairobi/Entebbe $350. What is the ministry doing to make sure that at least (Interruption)  well, it is only Airline coming, but we get value for our money and even tourism can we promoted.
Recently, I was in Malaysia. To fly from Kuala Lumpur to Lankawi in 45 minutes, you pay $50. So, why should a tourist come to Uganda when he is going to spend $350 for 45 minutes, when he can spend $50 for 45 minutes in Malaysia?
So really, I wish to request the ministry to look at air transport and see that while we are promoting tourism, trade there is a big problem in the country.
Madam Speaker, still on trade and tourism. To move a container of 20ft from Durban to Mombasa is $800; to move the same container from Mombasa to Kampala is $3,500 and that is the problem that the railway line collapsed. So really, how can an industrialist come and stage here to sell in East Africa under the customs union where you must pay $3,500 over and above what your competitor in Mombasa is going to pay? So, these are really very serious matters to the economy. That is why these departments of works, housing and communication, are really the gateway to our development. While private sector can do so much, I think government has a lot to do.
Madam Speaker, on the housing sub-sector. When we were starting the debate, hon. Kayongo, mentioned the problems that are in - may I find out from the ministry, what happened to the building standards? In this country there used to be what they call an occupation permit. Before you occupy the building, you are required to get an occupation permit. What happened? Does the ministry still issue these permits or they have been removed? Because everybody wants to put up a storey building and many have worked in Roko, and they have known how they put up these buildings. Unfortunately, someone who was just a porter or a foreman in a certain site in Roko, comes up and tells the businessman, I can put up a storey building. And because this businessman is avoiding paying the high costs of a good engineer to do the building, he goes for that.
Madam Speaker, it is not only that building but many of them. Go to Katanga and see those hostels being put up. You do not need a structural engineer to know them; you just look at the bars they are using, the way they are doing it. When you go to the site and ask the builders, Where are the architectural drawings? They say, What are you talking about? They do not know, because the man just goes, puts seven bars and rounds them up. That was so heavy; puts the small ones half an inch. So, Madam Speaker, we wish to request the Ministry of Works to rejuvenate these building standards. The people who know how to do the work are there. Unfortunately, everything that is good goes in the frame yard; they charge a little bit higher. So, because Works has not enforced it, guys are undercutting those who do not do the job by trying to offer their inferior services and Works is not implementing, so we are going to get these inferior services. I thank you.
DR JOHN PETER ESELE (Bukedea County, Kumi): Madam Speaker, I thank you. Today I have learnt that the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury is also the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Road Sector Development Programme. I also know him as the Chairman of the PMA steering committee and he must be chairman of other committees. He is a very busy man. I think we are overworking him.
Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Works is one of the ministries I am always feeling. At least there is some work going on especially on the roads, highways and the communications sector. But I have problems with the district roads and the community access roads. Recently, I was in the district and I was complaining to them about the district roads, these ones connecting sub-counties. I said the Ministry of Works is one of those with the highest budget. As a matter of fact, it is about four times higher than that of Agriculture. But they said that the money that the Ministry of Works has is for the highways, there is very little of that money that goes to the districts.
And when I looked at the releases from the Ministry of Local Government to Kumi District, they are always about 45 a quarter and that is very little money to work on the district roads. Madam Speaker, I would like to request the Ministry of Works to increase the allocation to the districts for the district roads. We really need these roads, but they are in a very poor state although the highways are okay.
Regarding the community access roads, I am told that this is a responsibility of the sub-counties. The roads are in a very sorry state. My children do not go to school very early because they fear the dew, so they go to school late. We cannot transport produce; the sick people can hardly be transported on bicycles to the hospitals. Now there is a notion of LGDP funds; but the sub-counties get an average of seven million per quota. The districts tell them that they need six million per kilometre of the community access roads. Now, that means that in a quota, a sub-county can do only one kilometre. But a sub-county can have more that 50 kilometres of the community access roads.
However, the sub-counties are willing because the districts have got graders. The sub-counties would be willing to buy fuel and other lubricants and pay the allowances for the operator of the grader, but for some reasons, the districts are not willing to have this done. Should I request the Ministry of Works to instruct the districts to allow the sub-counties to just maintain the graders so that they can work on the roads? Thank you.
MS ALICE ALASO ASIANUT (Woman Representative, Soroti): Thank you, Madam Speaker. I want to thank the Committee for this report. I am looking at the Road Reserve Policy and my understanding of a policy is that it is a commitment; it is made so that it is implemented. I am both surprised and probably also disappointed that actually while the policy exists, there is an apparent lack of commitment to ensure that the road reserve policy in this country is implemented. It is common knowledge if you move on our highways that you find people setting up all sorts of structures, petrol stations, car stages etc. You find them just next to the road and then you wonder, Is there a reserve policy really meant for this particular road?
Madam Speaker, my concern is that, while there is a Road Reserve Policy on paper, I think the ministry has not got out to commit itself to ensuring that this policy is adhered to. Otherwise, what would explain all these businesses, all this construction next to our roads if there was a commitment?
I am aware that Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications has a monitoring inspection unit. Do they take interest in ensuring that as they drive along these roads, they are also concerned about petrol stations like the Jovenna Depot, like the other stage on the Tirinyi junction as you join the Tororo road? There is a stage there; something that is really out of place completely. But it is happening right under our noses, until one day somebody seeks compensation twice or another day, someone gets an accident out of that irresponsible activity, then we come in here. For me, Madam Speaker, there is this question of supervision; but I think there is also some element of corruption. Somebody had better fight it, otherwise, it is not very convincing to have a policy, which is simply on paper and you see it being undermined every other day.
The second issue is to do with the Malaba-Busia-Bugiri road. This road is a major highway in eastern Uganda. It is very important to this country, and the committee gave it a lot of time. But I think the findings continue to be very disappointing. First of all, the road was constructed at US$20 million. Then the next thing you hear is that, it failed prematurely. Before you even understand how it failed prematurely, a consultancy is put in place to investigate the causes of the failure. Now, before you even understand what the consultancy has come up with they say, The report said what went wrong, but not who was responsible. Madam Speaker, I have a very big problem here, first of all, who constituted the terms of reference for this consultancy because if you are interested in addressing (Interruption)
MR NANDALA: Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, and my colleague for giving way. There is even more worry here. The Auditor General says that road maintenance equipment for Malaba-Bugiri road Shs 229 million was borrowed illegally. You can imagine, they have got even equipment to maintain the road, which does not exist.
MR NASASIRA: I wanted to ask, hon. Mafabi, to repeat the information, I did not get it well; then I might be able to respond.
MR NANDALA: Madam Speaker, it is the Auditor Generals report ending 30 June 2003, on the report on the Ministry of Works page 55, 14.5 Illegal borrowings.  
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Can you read it?
MR NANDALA: Page 55, 14.5 says: Illegal borrowings: During the year under review, the ministry obtained bank overdrafts totalling to Shs 273,423,930 on three project accounts without authority from the Treasury. These projects included MityanaFort Portal road corridor Shs 17,215,659, road maintenance equipments worth Shs 229,035,062 for reconstruction of Malaba-Bugiri road. By the end of the year, the overdraft on the road equipment maintenance account was Shs 229 million as outstanding.
MR NASASIRA: I want this clarified because it is going on Hansard and it might confuse us. Normally, when you have an auditors report, there are audit queries and at a convenient time the report goes to the PAC and the accounting officers come and clarify. What hon. Mafabi is talking about is that some money that was meant for some projects was borrowed from those votes for some other work. It does not imply that that money was embezzled or was eaten. The query is that some money which was meant for the work on the corridor on Fort Portal-Mityana road and some work on road equipment, meaning for procuring road equipment, some of that money was borrowed. That is what that statement is talking about, and it is saying that the money was borrowed without the authority of the Treasury. That is an audit query, which will come to PAC, and which the accounting officer, who is the Permanent Secretary, will come and clarify.
MR NANDALA: Madam Speaker, my simple accounting shows like this -(Interruption)
MR WILLIAM NSUBUGA: With due respect to hon. Nandala Mafabi, I am a Member of Public Accounts Committee and when the Auditor General compiles a report, he compiles a report for all queries where the responsible ministries have failed to answer. It is not procedurally right for, hon. Nandala Mafabi, to use the Auditor Generals report, which is under Public Accounts Committee. We are synchronising these queries and we are even summoning the accounting officers, who is the Permanent Secretary and not the minister.
So, it is not procedurally right to pin the minister now when there is room for his technocrat to come to the Public Accounts Committee and answer the query. And if hon. Mafabi is not contented, he can come to the committee; the rules allow him. So, I do not agree with the suggestion of using the audit queries to pin the minister; it is not right.
MR NANDALA: Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague. Information is information and it must be utilised whether in raw or final stages. Bugiri-Malaba road is a very serious issue, which my colleague must understand that there has been a problem. The road was opened like today, the following day it was spoilt (Mr William Nsubuga rose_)- give me chance.
MR WILLIAM NSUBUGA: Madam Speaker, is it in order for hon. Nandala Mafabi to continue using the audited query, which is under Public Accounts Committee? Is he in order to use such a document when actually it is a document of Parliament? We are supposed to synchronise it and summon the relevant officers to answer. Is he in order?
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Now, hon. Mafabi, when that report was brought to this House, we committed it to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to scrutinise, evaluate and then report back to this House. Because now I am at a disadvantage, I do not have the report, I have not heard from the Chairman of PAC, I think it is premature for now to be using that.
MR NANDALA: Madam Speaker, it is very good I accept that that the committee is there. But I want colleagues from Parliament to understand the problem of Bugiri-Malaba road. It is a serious issue. If the Ministry of Works, which was in charge of implementing and supervising, has not taken action, even the report from the international consultant is not saying discipline this one because the Ministry of Works is the one that appointed him, then it must be serious. Madam Speaker, that road is a very serious issue; we must not just sweep it under the bed (Interruption)
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nandala Mafabi, I have used that road and the Members of Parliament have invited me to examine that road and I have been there. It is a serious issue, but I think let us go by what the committee chairman has reported because certainly he says he is not satisfied with what the ministry has done before going into the figures of what went where. The chairman is clear that he is very dissatisfied with the management of that road; so let Members debate along those lines.
MS ALASO: Thank you, Madam Speaker. My concerns on this road are very serious and I am happy that everybody is very concerned. The road continues to have additional financial leakages. On this road we could have put up and developed other roads, and if we continue at this rate it is really worrying for this country.
Madam Speaker, while the committee is concerned about what is happening, they simply recommend that the minister reports to this august House on his findings as soon as possible. I think the committee should have urged the ministries probably give other specific duration. The matter of this road has gone on too long in this House. Any more time, uncertainty of two months or as soon as possible, what is as soon as possible? I think there must be some more specificity on the matter of this road. I propose that, if it was possible in a months time we should have a comprehensive report on the matter of this road.
Finally, Madam Speaker, I want to seek three clarifications:
One, in 2001, this House passed a loan for the development of landing sites. Soroti District was supposed to benefit from three of them. Up to now the landing sites of Kagwala, Mulondo and Bugondo have not been worked on. A loan was passed; I wonder what happened.
Two, I would also like to be told what happened of the budgetary provision of last financial year for the Serere-Bugondo road. Last year, Shs 55 million was allocated to this road; it was not worked on. This financial year another Shs 55 million - is it a policy, is it a procedure to budget for something twice and no work is done? What is happening?
Three, I want to find out from the Committee Chairperson why he did not up-date us on security roads in Northern Uganda. I thought this report would have brought out something on security roads well aware that we still have very serious security concerns, and Ministry of Defence has always been telling us about the need for these roads. Could the Chairperson tell me why he did not comment on this? Thank you.
MR SAMUEL ABURA PIRIR (Matheniko County, Moroto): Thank you, Madam Speaker and honourable members. I am joining the rest of my colleagues who have already contributed about this report, which was well done. Roadways are the most defective ways of promoting development and increasing income. So, this requires a higher technical skill of work. As I speak, when you observe the way roads are done these days and to make matters worse, when we tender roads to the laypeople who have no skills, it becomes something very embarrassing. The Ministry of Works should put in place a committee that monitors all the tendering roadways networks in a district or in a country.
Madam Speaker, we have a terrible weather in Karamoja. We are lucky that we are communicating because of the long droughts. When the rain comes Kotido is cut off, Nakapiripirit is cut off, Moroto is cut off. There have never been bridges that can enable us to cross to the other side when it rains. So, I do not know what we are doing or what we are planning when we are making a road. When we budget for a road, do we include the bridges?
Not only that, we have continued maintaining the size of roads, which were constructed in the colonial days. If you start your journey from Kumi, Soroti, Katakwi, Moroto it is just about three meters. I do not know what is the standard. They put there some kolasi of about two meters. Any time you are driving another vehicle is coming, you have to slow down because the roads is small. I thought Iganga to Tirinyi road could be a model of the roads today we should be having. How can you maintain, after 42 years of independence, the same road? So, it is just a pass way.
Now for us in Karamoja, we do not mind, we can remain for years and years without the tarmac. Why do you not give us just murram? We do not care about tarmac now we were forgotten, we do not need it even. We shall continue dusting ourselves when we go from there we come back. So, Nakapiripirit-Kotido road going to Loote, when it rains you cannot - it is good that we have mobiles now, we can only communicate by air but travelling is not there.
On top of that, honourable Minister, I think you are very experienced on this. When shall we tour our areas to see - in this case I do not want to complain for nothing. Just be practical, when shall you go to the field and see what we are doing?
Further more, there was a huge budget that was given for the track routes - some people call them security roads. What has happened? None has ever been attempted not even one-metre track route. What happened to that budget? Those track routes, as we are now planning to resume the disarmament, could now be cleared so that it is easier for the soldiers to see or to monitor or to pursue these warriors who go somewhere. We do not have a road network that makes even the insecurity more rough.
At least be mindful of something. You can deny us dams but give us the road now so that we develop. We can bring our hides and skins to sell in Kampala because now when you have got a road, which is one metre and these days there are ambushes there is no way you can run very fast, buses fear. So, I would like to say that, in future if ever there is another budget we should be number one in the plan because we are always the last. Karamoja should be first and this will be the end of under development. But every time you just maintain, I am going to Nakasongola, Masaka road when will you come to Karamoja?
So, I am talking with a very sad heart and I am really disappointed with the way we are undermined. Does it mean that we happen to live in Uganda but we are not Ugandans? I think we are not Ugandans because everything is nothing for us.
MR MIKE SEBALU (Busiro County East, Wakiso): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the committee for their work and the good report that they have provided for this House. I would also like to register my appreciation to the Ministry of Works. I got communication in my pigeonhole this morning to the effect that they are going to be providing some road equipment to some of the districts, which have hitherto not benefited from that programme. So, I would like to thank you on behalf of Wakiso district.
Secondly, I would like to put my major comments on the issue of our road network vis--vis decongesting Kampala City. Kampala City is so congested and there are lots of traffic jams. I think the ministry needs to link up with some of these urban authorities and look at the road network around the city.
The one-way road arrangement has played some part, but you find that the problem of congestion is still a big problem. The idea of the northern bypass is a good one; and definitely when it is put in place it will go a long in decongesting the city. The vehicles will just pass by without necessarily going through the centre of the city. There is a problem with Entebbe road; you know we have the airport as a facility which is used by the entire country. You find some people coming from all districts of Uganda using that one road to the airport given that in one way or another some activities may lead to that road.
We are going to have CHOGUM soon in 2007, if we are to plan ahead of time the Ministry of Works is one of the stakeholders, which should be in the planning process to ensure that when we have such big activities in the country- We have had very big conferences especially those that involve Heads of state, and Entebbe road becomes a big problem and the problem is even extended to the city centre; and yet there are other road outlets which could help in easing that traffic. A case in point is the Natete-Nakawuka-Kasuku road and Nakawuka-Mpigi, because you find people coming from Mbarara, and Kasese going to Entebbe. They have to come to Kampala, the city center, to congest it and then move on to Entebbe; yet it could easily be done in such a way that those people can branch off in Mpigi, go to Kawuku and then head to Entebbe. In so doing you will find that the traffic in town, which is not necessary - if I am going to Entebbe and I am going back to Masaka, I do not need to come to the city centre.
So, I do not know how the ministry is looking at such arrangements as a means of decongesting the city? When CHOGUM comes with over 40 Heads of state with their convoys, it becomes easy to manage the other Entebbe road, which can be reserved for the Heads of State and the delegates, and then other motorists can use this alternative route. These are some of the things that can help in terms of decongesting and allowing easy movement.
Since we are looking at CHOGUM because it is a confirmed activity, I do not know how the ministry is planning in terms of capacity of Entebbe airport; the technical people say the radar system is really aged. So, how is the ministry preparing itself as one of the major stakeholders in terms of developing infrastructure that will make that activity run smoothly? Thank you very much.
CAPT. GUMA GUMISIRIZA (Ibanda County North, Mbarara): Madam Speaker when Parliament sends ministerial policy statements to committees relevant to sessional committees, the intention is to carry out the anatomy and the surgery so that when a report comes here a lot of work will have been done.
On page 5 of the committees report I am seeing a lot of ambiguities, which really disturb my mind. Bullet 1 under 4.1.1: Observations and recommendations on the transport sector - I do not know if it is an observation or it is a recommendation. It begins as follows: There appears to be duplication of roles among institutional bodies that coordinate and implement road works. I want a specific statement, is there duplication or there is no duplication, because we do not have time here to discuss about it appears and so forth.
Still under bullet 1, the Committee says, the road agency formation unit, and road sub-sector Steering committee with a secretariat in the Ministry of Finance were more all less doing the same thing. Are they doing the same thing or they are not? More or less this kind of English, Madam Speaker, really leaves you on a roadblock. More or less  you see this kind of English, Madam Speaker, it really leaves you on a roadblock. Are they doing the same thing or they are not? So, what are you recommending as a committee, because this is their report. It was difficult for the Committee to justify the continued existence of these bodies with a lot of. - so what are you saying as a committee? Tell us exactly what you are saying and what you are recommending. We need specific and solid recommendations. Bullet 2 on the same page, the committee says that, there are top civil servants in the Ministry of Finance and Works who are supposed to be the ones to implement road works. As a matter of fact, RAFU, which is an implementing agency of the ministry, is also represented on the steering committee, thus a classic case of agency coordination and monitoring itself. 
Hon. Chairman of Works and your committee, what are you telling us? Are you saying top civil servants who are supposed to be implementers; RAFO, which is supposed to be a coordinating and monitoring unit, is part of a steering committee? So, what are you recommending to this Parliament? What should we do? This is confusion in the ministry because you ought to have carried a surgery; what are you exactly telling us, civil servants, top engineers- I do not know RAFO; I do not even know whether RAFO is a legally constituted unit. Did we pass a law? We want to find out all these issues. So, what are you telling us, Mr Chairman, with your sector and your committee?
Bullet three, Madam Speaker, the committee observed that detailed information was lacking on the performance of district and urban roads, sure? (Interjection)- excuse me, Madam Speaker, give me three or four minutes because I want to carry out a very critical analysis. If information is lacking on the district and urban roads, which is the engine of the economic pillar, so what is the Chairman telling us, Madam Speaker? That there is no information, or if there is, it is scanty and lacking on the district and urban roads; and that is where the chunk of the money goes, and yet it is the pillar of the economy. Hon. Byanyima and hon. Nasasira, tell us here and now.
Bullet 5, on page 6, the committee is saying the recurrent budget of the sector has over time stabilized while the development budget to the sector in percentage terms is going down! The Ministry of Transport is largely a development ministry. I expect a big chunk of the total budget outlay on this sector to be on development. So, if there is a percentage decline on this ministry then catastrophe is looming while the budget is declining, expectations and demand of the people are increasing; but any way I know that demands are going down. We people in Government are the ones heightening the demands of the people.
Kisoro road, Fort PortalBwamba road- Hon. Kasirivu here is talking about Busunju road which hon. MP from Kiboga was talking about. So, bullet 6, again, I want the chairperson, Madam Speaker- and that is extremely serious. Bullet 6, you know hon. Byanyima has been a Chairman of this committee since we came here. One of the financial years- I do not remember when he stood up and said  actually it is on Hansard- we could retrieve it- said that the high cost of roads  in fact he came out with specific figures. It was between Shs300-350 million per kilometre unit. The same chairman today is telling us after 4 years we have been here that high cost of road works has continued to concern the committee.
Bullet 6, on page 6, the committee says, High costs of road works has continued to concern the committee. So, what is he telling us? In fact, he added that Uganda in East and Central Africa  it is in the Hansard, hon. members, that Uganda in East and Central Africa has got a high cost road network. We want this thing explained. Uganda has got the highest in East and Central according to the chairperson of the Committee then who is still the chairperson. So, we want more detailed information. I have seen hon. Nasasira consulting his engineers here. Why should we have the most expensive roads in East and Central Africa and yet we have the poorest roads? I have given you your time, hon. Nandala. The Deputy Speaker is about to shut me down so sit. I am taking more time.
Bullet 7, on page 7, the committee observed quality management go hand in hand with cost management. I do not know what that means. I want the chairperson to explain. I am going very fast on page 8.
Road safety. Madam Speaker and hon. members, the carnage of accidents on Uganda roads is a combination of many factors: bad drivers, ill-trained drivers, bad roads, potholed roads, over-speeding. It is a host of reasons that causes accidents but sometimes Government conveniently gets focused one or two areas.
Introduction of speed governors, fine, but that is not the only reason; it is a host of many reasons. So, one of the reasons some of us have been giving that this business of privatising and liberalising and Government seems to be abdicating its responsibility in the third world society where majority of the people are trained is really not good. So, there is need for Government to continue being in close monitoring of these sectors.
On page 9, a much more serious matter, which every MP, not necessarily MPs who come from Bugiri know that road BugiriBusitemaMalaba road; I have used it many times. It is extremely unfortunate that the committee is so ambiguous about that problem because they are not making any specific recommendation. They are saying Government had authorized a consultant  I do not know how to pronounce the name of the consultant- to investigate the causes and the purpose. The report is on what went wrong but not who was responsible. How can a committee recommend that kind of thing? How can a whole UK Consultant come out and say a report on what went wrong but not who was responsible? Can you take that, Madam Speaker? Can you read this kind of thing before hon. members? You go to Bugiri and look at the road. I have used the road going to Nairobi. Go to Bugiri and look at the road around Naluwerere! How can a committee know everywhere but nowhere and make this kind of recommendation when Government resources are being  this is diversional talk. It is extremely unfortunate but however the committee appreciates the effort of the ministry. Which efforts? The minister reports his findings as soon as possible. No time frame? As soon as possible! 2008 can be as soon as possible, Madam Speaker? What is as soon as possible? So, when we send policy statements to committees, Madam Speaker, we want specific good recommendations. Let me summarise.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, not summary, hon. member, your last point.
CAPT. GUMISIRIZA: Madam Speaker, let me finish with your permission which definitely I do not doubt. On page 12, Madam Speaker, it is my contention, communication is extremely vital and important and its contribution on economic development cannot be understated. Madam Speaker, the contribution of communication in an 80 per cent subsistence economy cannot be overstated and should not be exaggerated. So, this business of duopoly- hon. Byanyima calls it monopoly - I do not know how to pronounce it. Some of us whose education is limited- MTN  no doubt about it, it has sacked a lot of money from this economy and they externalise the money; the economy is 80 per cent subsistence The majority of the people in the village you hear them saying I am greeting my wife who is here. I am sending greetings to my wife who is here. Can you imagine that! So the majority of the people are so backward  (Laughter)- but he is spending money. I am sending greetings to my wife who is here seated with me, and you say communication has improved the economy? It does, but in a society that is advanced. So, MTN has stacked a lot of money; the chairperson is talking of about 600,000 subscribers, they could even be more but the contribution of this liberalization is minimal.
If people do not realize it, some Ugandans do realize it; they are doing us a disservice. So, Madam Speaker, we urgently need this enabling law to break this duopoly, which hon. Byanyima is calling monopoly; it is a duopoly. They were supposed to have covered the country by a certain date- hon. Byanyima is not even telling us a specific date; they have not, the licenses are not revoked, so we are there in a lA System Error Occur. Please reload page