Government has launched a Shs19b road project under the Uganda Support to Municipality Infrastructure Development (USMID) in Busia Town.
The project, which is aimed at tarmacking roads, paving and building a modern taxi park and improving street lighting, is expected to be completed within two years.
Ms Judith Nabakooba, the Lands and Urban Development Minister, who presided over the launch at the weekend, said: “Busia Town is like our sitting room as you enter the country from Kenya. That is why government has brought this programme to ensure it is beautified.”
The minister, however, warned residents against theft of construction materials and fuel, saying it would lead to delays in the completion of the project and shoddy work.
“This project has come to benefit Ugandans, more especially the people of Busia. So, I don’t want to hear stories of theft of materials and fuel because if this happens, it will derail the project,” Ms Nabakooba said.
She also warned the contractor against shoddy work saying the project involves a huge amount of money, while residents deserve quality services.
Mr Vincent Okurut, the Busia Town Clerk, said there are a total of 194 kilometers of road networks in the district, with only 10.6kms being tarmacked; 60.8kms are under gravel while 122.9kms need to be opened.
Mr Okurut added that the programme, funded by the World Bank and undertaken by Dott Services Ltd, will see 0.176kms of Busia SS road tarmacked, 0.279kms of Wanyama Bonny Road, Market Square Road (0.658kms), Obernster Road (0.517kms), Ekaka Road (0.658km) and the refurbishment of the taxi park.
Mr Sadiki Amin, the Busia mayor, said whereas the programme was good, there was a need to have more roads tarmacked because only 10kms of roads within the town are tarmacked which is too low.
Mr Geoffrey Macho, the Busia Municipality MP, urged the contractor to prioritise residents of Busia Town for employment opportunities, saying he had received information that the contractor was paying local labourers as low as Shs5,000 per day.
“I am told Dott Services is not employing young men from Busia Town, but preferring those from Namungodi Village and other areas and are paying peanuts for the day’s work,” Mr Macho said.
But Mr Kenbert Kaganzi, the contract manager Dott Services Ltd, said they had executed the programme in Mbale City and Tororo municipality with “considerable success” and the Busia project won’t be any different.