Paper presented at the 20th Annual South African Transport Conference 16 - 20 July 2001 "Meeting the transport challenges in Southern Africa", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa. ABSTRACT: Uganda has a total road network of approximately 35,700 km (excluding community roads) of which about 8% is paved. The classified road network consists of about 9,500 km (of which 24% is paved), but which accommodate 57% of the travel in Uganda (in terms of million vehicle-kilometres per year). In order to maintain and improve this major network, the Government of Uganda (GOU) has prepared a 10-year Road Sector Development Program (RSDP), stretching
between 1996/7 and 2005/06. Expenditure under this program would amount to some US$1,397 million already committed. Of the US$1,397 million already committed about US$783 million has been allocated through international donor commitments and US$614 from Government of Uganda (GOU) commitments.
To manage the anticipated increase in expenditure of roads, but also to ensure greater efficiency, the GOU has not only decided to establish commercially orientated Roads Agency in the immediate future, but to commercialise the whole road sector.
A study was consequently commissioned by the Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications, funded by the World Bank, to assess the existing Road User Charges (RUC) system used in Uganda and its equity in terms of the costs each category of user imposes on road infrastructure and on other
road users. The study also has to make recommendations as to the required adjustments in the existing system, including the identification of more appropriate instruments to raise revenue towards a more efficient, equitable and more effective framework. The options to link the revenue raised through appropriate road user charging instruments to expenditure on roads i.e. the user-pay or fee-for-service principle also had to be exploited under the study.
This paper highlights the major findings of the study and discusses the lessons learned and the way forward in terms of the commercialisation of the road sector in Uganda.
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