New Works Minister Byandala Promises Quality Work when he takes over

2487 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
A story of the new Minister of Works Abraham Byandala on how he plans to revamp the ministry

Engineer Abraham Byandala, the new minister of Works and Transport, says one of his first priorities when he takes over the ministry this week, will be to implement the policy of promoting local road contractors as a way of building and expanding their capacity to undertake major government contracts.

Byandala, a specialist in highways and former Chief Engineer of the Kampala City Council, was over the weekend appointed to take over a ministry that had for many years come to be known as a portfolio for John Nasasira.

Nasasira who has many times been criticized for the poor state of roads in the country, is the longest serving minister of works in Uganda. His removal has surprised many people who looked at him as an untouchable in the ministry.

But with a renewed energy and enthusiasm, Byandala yesterday outlined two major areas that he thinks have been challenging to the works ministry implementation of efficient service delivery. He says that apart from promoting the capacity of local road contractors, early preparation of procurement documents and processes would be emphasized.

In addition, he says that he will also emphasize road safety measures, axle road control and clearing of the road construction backlog. He says he will provide technical confidence in the department so that the workers know that even ahead of the budget they can prepare procurement document and only wait for approval signatures after the passing of the budget.

The ministry of works has in the last three years been getting one of the highest budget allocations. In the 2009/10 budget it was provided with the largest budget of up to 1.1 trillion shillings but later failed to absorb the money due to lack of capacity.

Byandala who said he was confident he would have no problem being approved by the appointments committee of parliament that started its work this morning, praised his predecessor Nasasira, for having steered the ministry well. He said Nasasira has constructed over 1,000 Kilometers of roads in the country; an achievement he says was huge. 

He said that because of Nasasira’s successes, his tenure would be a continuation of delivering on President Yoweri Museveni’s manifesto to take tarmac roads to all parts of the country. He said he would rely on the support of his technical colleagues in the ministry as well as at the Uganda National Roads Authority - UNRA, most of whom he has worked with before, to deliver quality service to the country.