A sound transport system is a prerequisite for the socio-economic development and consolidation of the country, particularly the development of the private sector as an engine of growth. Unfortunately, the political turmoil and economic mismanagement of the country during the 1970s and mid-1980s led to the collapse of vital economic structures, including the road sub-sector. However, when the NRM Government came to power in 1986, a rehabilitation program was immediately put in place to revitalize the essential elements of the economy. Among the sectors that were given priority is the transport sector especially roads, because of their strong bearing on rural production, and hence poverty reduction.
Because of the key role roads play in the socio-economic setting of the country, notable access to markets, social amenities, private sector growth, etc., the Government with the assistance of development partners formulated a 10-year Road Sector Development Programme (RSDP1) in 1996 for the period 1996/97-2005/6.
Road Sector Development Programme (RSDP 1)
The RSDP1 was formulated as a strategy aimed at promoting cheap, efficient, and reliable road transport services with the specific objectives of:
- Providing a national road network capable of meeting the present and future traffic demands while harmoniously integrating road safety and environmental protection requirements;
- Establishing and developing a strong road administration for effective and efficient management of the national road network and;
- Enhancing and developing the local construction industry.
Given the dynamism of the socioeconomic environment, coupled with the emergence of new challenges since the formulation of RSDP1, it was imperative to review the programme and update it to take account of implementation challenges, additional priorities in the road sub-sector, and the requirements of Uganda’s transport sector. Similarly, the Programme would take into account the regional cooperation Institutional and management reforms that are consistent with other policy initiatives and reforms, particularly in resource mobilization and public expenditure management. This review further took into consideration the studies that had been carried out including funding proposals of RSDP2.
Road Sector Development Programme (RSDP 2)
The three critical aspects of the road sub-sector incorporated into the integration of the District, Urban and Community Access Road (DUCAR) network within the road sub-sector management strategy consistent with the Local Government rules, placing an increased thrust on road maintenance and the mutation of the RSDP into a rolling 10-year program.
Sustaining a Good Road Network
The RSDP2 spells out the measures for sustaining a good road network, including institutional and management reforms, as well as sustainable financing mechanisms for the development and maintenance of both the national and DUCAR road networks in a manner that will sustain higher economic growth and hence contribute to poverty reduction.
Significance of the Roads Sub-sector in Poverty Reduction and Economic Development
The roads sector has a vital and supportive role to play in the development of a dynamic and robust private sector, and in the efficient delivery of social services. Hence an efficient road network will be a key element in sustaining high economic growth through its contribution to increased productivity. It, therefore, has a direct bearing on poverty reduction.
This explains Government’s resolve to put in place a sound road network as a prerequisite for socio-economic development of the country and to maintain coherence in the socioeconomic environment. Easy mobility of goods and people provides the incentive for increased production and markets access and therefore has a positive effect on the improvement of the welfare of households.
Road Sub-sector Strategy Objectives
The road sub-sector policy measures would be achieved through the following strategic objectives:
- Improve accessibility to all rural and urban areas of the country on a sustainable basis by
having at least 80% of the national and the district road networks in a fair to good condition by the year 2006;
- Demarcate and ensure adherence to the road reserves and environmental legislation by the year 2004;
- Establish an Executive Road Agency to manage National road programmes by the year
- Increase the participation of the local construction industry in road maintenance to 90% by the year 2006;
- Increase road transport services distribution throughout the country;
- Improve road safety;
- Improve the flow of traffic and the speed of passenger movement in Kampala and the inner urban areas; and
- Increase substantially maintenance funding in the medium-term.