An unspecified number of tractors that were part of the road maintenance equipment President Yoweri Museveni commissioned and handed over to district leaders last year are now grounded. The road construction equipment worth 100 million US dollars was purchased through a soft loan to be paid back in 40 years. Each district received a dump truck, grader, wheel loader, excavator and a bulldozer.
In June last year, Government through the Ministry of Works and Transport purchased over one hundred tractors from China that were given to districts to keep their roads in good condition.
The road construction equipment worth 100 million US dollars was purchased through a soft loan to be paid back in 40 years. Each district received a dump truck, grader, wheel loader, excavator and a bulldozer.
However, just ten months since the equipment was commissioned, most of the tractors are grounded.
The tractors were distributed together with a compactor and a tipper.
A tractor operator that spoke to Uganda Radio Network in confidence says the machines that were imported are meant for light grading not heavy duty work like opening up new roads. These tractors are meant to spread out murram not grading roads.
The operator says that because of leakages from the control valves, there is general over heating of the engine. This, he says, is because the tractors are being used for heavy duty work and some of them have had their mould board which holds the mounted tillers to break down.
However the Ministry of Works and Transport spokesperson, Susan Kataike denied the tractors were substandard.
Kataike blamed districts for misusing the tractors arguing that the tractors are meant for light work not heavy duty work.
Kataike explained that tractor operators had been trained how to handle the machinery. She observed that the tractors were frequently breaking down because they are being used to do work they are not meant to.
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Kataike wondered why it’s only the tractors that were breaking down and not the tipper truck or the soil compactor that were breaking down.
Last week State Minister for Works John Byabagambi was out in the field to look at the equipment and was surprised to find that a number of them had broken down.
Kataike advised the districts to have the tractors repaired ready for work because they receive money for their maintenance.