New CrossRoads Report: Five years of progress
As CrossRoads draws to a close, the Secretariat is very keen to see its work continue to have an impact long the future. This desire to have as mucheffect as possible is a major reason for producing this report. It not only gives an overview of what CrossRoads has achieved, but also ensures that stakeholders will still have easy access to our key documents after our office has closed.
Though no one programme can claim full credit for the positive changes that have been seen in Uganda’s road sector over the past five years, it is no coincidence that since CrossRoads began its work the confidence of financial institutions in the road sector has increased. The average cost of constructing a kilometre of road to bitumen standard has decreased by UGX 1 billion(USD 293,000), and the Uganda National Roads Authority is awarding long-term (three years) maintenance contracts.
In terms of the lifecycle of road planning, design, construction and maintenance, CrossRoads’ five year life span has been very short. So, we have to recognise that we are not going to be able to record all the impacts that the Programme has created. However, the team is proud of what we have achieved to date, while working with the country’s contractors, consultants, government ministries and departments, and civil society.
CrossRoads had two main aims: to help improve the quality of Uganda’s road network and to help improve the efficiency of the Government of Uganda’s spending on roads. The Government of Uganda demonstrated its commitment to reform, by increasing expenditure on roads, passing new policy on the construction sector, and several other measures. Working together I think we achieved some really strong impacts, with the road sector in a much better position to attract the investment needed to improve the country’s road network.
We are confident that CrossRoads will continue to yield results well into the future, bringing benefit to Uganda, its industry and population.
New CrossRoads Report: Two years of progress towards improving Uganda's road sector
This report outlines CrossRoads' work during the last two years and the thinking behind it. Measurable impacts on the sector include 438 contractors currently being given in-depth training in business skills, a new state-of-the-art facility set up to train equipment operators,a range of innovative proposals from Ugandan companies being funded through theCrossRoads Challenge Fund, and the fact that contractors have already used the Programme'sConstruction Guarantee Fund to bid on UGX 60 billion (around USD 25 million) worth ofcontracts that they might otherwise not have been able to tender for.
Understanding the variety of approaches taken by CrossRoads is importantas Uganda's road sector is a complex web of cause and effect. In order to have a long-term,sustainable impact on the market, CrossRoads has to address a range of different issues. The new report covers not only the various achievements in each strategic area being dealt with butalso seeks to inform readers how these strategic areas are related to each other and how,through its various interactions, CrossRoads will have a strong and sustainable impact.
New CrossRoads intervention to increase labour-intensive road work activities
In 2013 CrossRoads will be going ahead with a new intervention to promote labour-intensive work opportunities in the Ugandan road industry.
Labour-intensive activities (like low-cost road surface sealing work using locally sourced materials) create jobs (including opportunities for women and other marginalised groups) and improve road quality. However, while key Ugandan policy, legal and institutional framework documents promote these activities, only limited budgets currently exist for these kinds of labour-intensive road rehabilitation. CrossRoads aims to create support for this type of labour-based work by developing a strong evidence base, and by running an extensive advocacy campaign promoting the economic and social benefits of labour-intensive road rehabilitation. The programme will also work to ensure capacity building of road agency staff to implement labour-intensive roadworks.
Simulators provide training boost for plant operators
Road maintenance mechanics in Uganda will soon be using heavy plant simulators to improve their operation skills. These simulators, introduced by the CrossRoads Secretariat, will train both existing plant operators and those thinking about working in the road maintenance sector.
Construction Guarantee Fund extended to include bid securities
CrossRoads has extended its Guarantee Fund to cover bid securities as well as performance bonds.
As with performance bonds, contractors often find it difficult to get banks to provide them with bid securities. But, being signed up to the CrossRoads Guarantee Fund will mean the banks face less financial risk – making them more willing to support contractors and thus boosting the roads industry.
In the construction industry, bid securities provide a legal guarantee that a contractor will sign a contract if it is awarded to them. It’s basically a way of ensuring that those bidding for a contract are serious contenders for the work, in order to avoid time wasting. If a contractor does not sign the contract when offered it, they face losing the bid security. (Nov 27, 2012)
CrossRoads plant and equipment survey completed
CrossRoads has completed its plant and equipment survey - which aimed to establish whether there is enough equipment in Uganda to carry out the Government’s annual roads maintenance programme.
Preliminary results indicate that it may not be lack of equipment, such as graders, that is responsible for the poor maintenance of Uganda’s roads. 202 working graders were identified by the survey – 179 owned by the private sector and 23 held by UNRA. This means that 1 working grader exists for approximately every 80 kms of national unpaved roads in Uganda.
This suggests that the poor maintenance of Uganda’s roads stems more from a lack of budget and skilled operators to effectively utilise the available equipment. Another major factor is that contracts are not awarded in a timely manner, which means that established firms providing road maintenance struggle to stay operational. (Nov 24, 2012)
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