By Bazio Doreen and Aol Nancy.

Local leaders and residents in Adjumani District are happy and excited about the grace period extended to the on-going road works in Adjumani Town Council under Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development-Additional Funding (USMID-AF) that was intended to end on 31st December 2023. The 3.1-kilometer road construction costs 10.3 billion and kick started in the month of June 2023.

However, due to numerous challenges like heavy rainfall, flooding among others; the contractor, Rock Trust Construction Company Limited was unable to execute the construction works within project timeline, which necessitated an additional six-month extension of the contract period.

In a letter dated December 18th 2023, written  on behalf of  Director of Regional Integration Africa and Middle East and North Africa Bout (World Bank) to Uganda’s Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, Hon. Matia Kasaija, and copied to among others, Mr. Ramathan Ggoobi, the Permanent Secretary to the treasury, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and some copies were  sent to all the Chief Administrative officers; indicates an extension period of six months from the date of issuance of the letter.

“We refer to the financing Agreement (“Financing Agreement”) between the Republic of Uganda (“Recipient”) and the international Development Response to Displacement Impact Project in the Horn of Africa (“Project”), and to your letter dated October 18, 2023, requesting the Association to extend the closing Date of the above captioned grant provided for under the financing Agreement. I am pleased to inform you that the Association has established June 30, 2024 as the closing date for the purpose of section III. B. 2. of schedule 2 to the financing Agreement,” reads part of the letter.

On the project benefits, Hon. Mangapi Lawrence, the Mayor, Adjumani Town Council, appreciates the World Bank for the funds extended to cities and Municipalities, observing that this funding has greatly improved road infrastructure in cities and municipalities despite the local challenges. He particularly cites 80% reduction in cases of road accidents in USMID-AF project areas due to improvement and upgrading of roads.

Hon. Mangapi appealed to the World Bank to consider extending such funding to other districts that have not benefited from this support such that the livelihood of the people is enhanced.

Mr. Agwe Solomon, a beneficiary in Adjumani Town Council and the district, also says “I would wish to express my unreserved appreciation to World Bank for extending its development objective towards us, by helping strengthen our capacity through Infrastructural Development by funding for Road upgrades as is ongoing in Adjumani Town, building modern markets and Recreational facilities in Ukusijoni and other facilities.”

Mr. Agwe also at one moment mobilized residents of the town to demonstrate over the failure for the project to kick off as expected and what they termed as shoddy works. The delays in implementation of the road works had casted doubt on the competence of the contractor and caused fear that the project was on the verge of failure, as the project period closure date approached with a success rate less than 50%. With the contractor, Rock Trust Construction Ltd, being granted an additional contract period, Mr. Agwe observes that this gives the people of Adjumani, the opportunity to express their gratitude and have a benefit of doubt.

“The upgrade of the road in Adjumani Town Council will perfectly rhyme with the construction of the 66km Atiak – Omi road by STRABAG which incidentally passes through the heart of the town. This will give a uniform developmental face of the infrastructure upgrade complemented by roadside street lamps that will for once give Adjumani a modern demeanor, complete with covered water drainage and a two-way pedestrian walkway,” Agwe observes.

Edina Ajio, an Activist and a Business Woman in the Town, also says that despite all the challenges faced by the contractor, the road network being executed will give Adjumani Town a wonderful facelift if completed within the extension.

“Before the roads were narrow but now, they are wide which I believe will ease movement, Business will also be boosted because with the highway from Atiak connected to Adjumani town, more business opportunities will be realized with this improved network, all thanks to USMID-AF,” Edina says.

Ajio added that with this improved road network, Adjumani town will now enjoy a flooding free town since this new road will have proper water drainage system unlike in the past.

The Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) program is designed as a Program-for-Results (PforR) program building on the Local Government Management and Service Delivery (LGMSD) program- a performance base grant (PBG) program which was piloted by the Bank under the first LG Development Program (LGDP I) in selected districts and later scaled nationally to cover the entire LGs system in Uganda with funding from the Bank and other development partners.