By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) and the commercial arm of the UPDF with the objective of building the latter’s capacity to undertake road construction and maintenance projects.
This follows President Museveni’s directive that all the new government schools, hospitals, and other projects should be handled by the UPDF Engineering Brigade starting the 2021/ 2022 financial year.
This directive will be gradually extended to cover other sectors of the government,” Museveni said in the July,1,2021 directives to the Vice President, Prime Minister, Minister for Defence, Permanent Secretary and the Chief of Defence Forces.
“The initial contracts under the MOU will include NEC undertaking civil works to construct of an access road to the Children’s Surgical Hospital in Entebbe. The 4km road will enhance access to the pediatric hospital, which has since become a referral point for surgery for patients across the region.” UNRA said in a statement.
The statement adds that NEC will also undertake civil works for the rehabilitation of Olwiyo – Pakwach Road (62km) and mechanized maintenance of 124km unpaved roads in the central region including Ngoma – Kyankanzi (15km), Ngoma – Kasozi – Kyamukanda (42km), Luku – Kalangala (31km), and Kalangala – Mbalabana (35km).”
According to UNRA, this is done in pursuance of government efforts to promote local construction capacity as well as the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA) regulations which provide for the promotion of local content and requires that entities reserve work for local companies.
UNRA Executive Director, Allen Kagina said it is a move in the right direction for the development of the country and the capacity of local firms to handle major projects.
“This partnership between two government agencies will go a long way in ensuring that government achieves its development objectives whilst building the capacity of the local construction industry,” Kagina said.
At 101, UNRA said it has the highest number of registered engineers in the country.
“ It is this technically competent and experienced team that will share knowledge, experience and best practice with NEC, in a deliberate upskilling initiative as part of the partnership,” UNRA added.
“As Uganda’s economy has consistently grown, the demand for superior and industry-grade roads has equally grown. Being the lifeline of Uganda’s economy, UNRA will continue to explore partnerships that allow the realization of the national Vision 2040.”
The National Enterprises Corporation has throughout the years been able to build capacity to handle a number of projects in a bid to support strategic sectors other than the military.
It’s also worth noting that some months ago, the commercial arm of the UPDF took over the production of oxygen for state-run hospitals and manufacturing of face masks to help tackle the deteriorating Coronavirus situation in the country and perhaps the country expects more results with the additional projects undertaken by UPDF.