By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Judith Nabakooba has commended the World Bank for its support to Municipal Infrastructure Development Program Project (USMID) project which she says has boosted Uganda’s infrastructure development.
The USMID project requires upgrading the roads from gravel surface road to an Asphalt surface layer of 50mm, with base course and sub-base layers. A carriage way of 7 m total width with two lanes in opposite direction, a parking lane each side, a cycle lane on each side, 1.5m walkways on each side of the road, street lights, service ducts and drains.
”I take this opportunity to welcome you to this Mid-Term review workshop of the USMID-AF Program. In a special way, i appreciate all the support both financial and technical that you continue to extend to the government of Uganda and its people,” said Nabakooba during a review workshop of the USMID projects. The exercise kicked off today and is being attended by mayors and other urban authorities.
According to Nabakooba, these project interventions have been enablers to Uganda’s development agenda by filling in the gaps created by the limited Government resource envelope.
”The USMID program was timely as it attempted to fill the gap of inadequate funding but also because it was conceived at a time when the urbanisation was increasing rapidly beyond our capacity to plan,” said Nabakooba.
”Uganda is currently urbanizing at a rate of 18% and if deliberate strategies are not put in place to deal with it, our urban areas will end up in slums.
It is therefore important that as we review the status of implementation of USMID, we start considerations for sustaining the achievements made under the program,” she added.
Uganda commenced implementation of the USMID-AF on 11th April 2019. Nabakooba says the startup activities of the program went on well until the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic for two years leading to slow progression in almost all activities. ”However, I am glad to say that upon the opening of the economy, work has resumed, and all the Program cities and Municipalities now have infrastructure works ongoing.”
”This too applies to the refugee hosting districts where civil works have commenced in most and for others procurement of contractors is being done. We are positive that we shall complete all the planned infrastructure projects by program closure in December 2023,” she said before adding that despite of the clear progress registered, they remain with huge urban service delivery demands. She says;
- While the program has caused upgrading and tarmacking of over 200 km of urban roads, this is less than 5% of the urban road network in the country;
- While support has been extended to solid waste management, waste collection in Municipalities is less than 40% of the amounts generated;
- We have seen the emergence of cities from Municipalities with areas increasing by over 700% while populations have increased by over 130%.
”The third National Development Plan (NDP III) identifies leveraging urbanization as a key driver for socio-economic transformation. We, therefore, have a lot more to do if we are to gain from the potential of wealth creation in urban areas,” she said adding, ”This Ministry, therefore, calls upon our Development partners and particularly the World Bank to consider additional support to our urbanization agenda.”