Govt To Upgrade Lira-Apac-Masindi Port Road Next Year - Minister

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In short
The actual construction work to tarmac the 256km highway from Masindi Port in Apac district to the South Sudan is set to begin next financial year. The road stretches through Apac, Lira, Pader and Kitgum districts.

The actual construction work to tarmac the 256km highway from Masindi Port in Apac district to the South Sudan is set to begin next financial year.
 
The road stretches through Apac, Lira, Pader and Kitgum districts.
 
Last month there were mixed reactions in Lango following the failure by government to include Lira-Apac- Masindi port highway on the list of roads earmarked for tarmacking this financial year. The reactions were based on continuous assurances by President Yoweri Museveni to local leaders in Lango region to include the 154km highway on the 2014/2015 financial year budget.
 
But government has issued a fresh assurance confirming the ongoing initiatives to tarmac the highway that goes through Akokoro Sub County, the home of former president Dr Apollo Milton Obote.
 
Engineer John Byabagambi, the minister of State for works and transport, told URN reporter in Lira town that the work on the highway is currently in the second stage after the design was completed a few years ago.
 
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Minister Byabagambi says the president has already included Masindi Port-Apac-Lira-Kitgum highway on the list of six remaining highways up for the upgrade.
 
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Byabagambi also trashed claims by some local leaders faulting government for having given the people of Lango a raw deal the 2014/2015 budget.
 
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Felix Okot Ogong, the chairperson Lango Parliamentary Group, says Museveni has given them full assurance to tarmac the highway using funds from other sources.
 
Sam Engola, the state minister for housing, says they are in close negotiations with government to have all presidential pledges in Lango region fulfilled.
 
Lawrence Egole, the Lira District NRM chairperson says Lango region got a fair share in the budget since several government initiatives including rural electrification and Peace Recovery and Development Plan among others are all embedded in the national budget.
 
David Kennedy Odongo, the Alebtong district chairperson, however, says Lango got a raw deal in the budget. He says government should have considered restoring cooperative unions to boost agriculture.
 
In 2012, while closing the Lango conference in Lira, President Museveni said government was ready to begin tarmacking the road.
 
Yosam Odur, the Lango paramount chief has repeatedly petitioned the president to fulfill his pledge to tarmac the road, which is the shortest route to Kampala.
 
In the financial year 2013/14, the Transport and Works sector was allocated over 2.5 trillion shillings. Last month, finance minister Maria Kiwanuka reported in her budget speech that the money was used to upgrade to gravel 264km, rehabilitate 178km, complete construction of six new bridges, and undertake the routine maintenance of 10,500km of unpaved roads.
 
A further 1,720km of paved roads underwent routine maintenance, according to Minister Kiwanuka.  The minister said the proportion of the national unpaved road network in fair to good condition is currently at 66% while that of National Paved Road network is at 77%.
 
This financial year, the works and transport sector has been allocated over 2.5 trillion shillings as government plans to upgrade to bitumen 200km of roads. Also budgeted for this year is the reconstruction of 178km of roads, the construction of 10 new bridges, and the rehabilitation of 7 bridges. Minister Kiwanuka said another 12,875km of unpaved roads are scheduled for re-grading.

 

About the author

Ronald Odongo
Ronald Odongo is the URN Bureau Chief Lira, Northern Uganda.A multimedia Journalist, Media trainer and investigative enthusiast. Lira,Apac,Dokolo,Oyam, Kwania, Otuke, Amolatar,and Alebtong districts fall under his docket. Odongo has been a URN staff member since 2012 though he had been a contributor since 2006.

Odongo started out as a bicycle reporter for Radio Unity in 2004. He was Radio Rhino FM's senior reporter, Luo news anchor and station producer between 2006 and 2011. Odongo started out as a freelance writer for Uganda Radio Network in 2006.

Odongo is particularly interested in reporting on community health, and education concerns. Good governance and human rights beats are dear to Odongo as a former Lord’s Resistance Army rebels captive 1996-1998.