Investors decry dire state of roads in Amuru

AMURU – Investors in Amuru district in northern Uganda have appealed to government to urgently intervene and work on roads, saying they are finding it hard to transport their goods to the market.

Speaking recently during a business engagement organised by TAD Capital and Investment Limited at Amuru District Local Government headquarters, the local investors said the poor road network and lack of electricity are some of the challenges hindering investment in the area.

Soren Naesborg, the chief executive officer of NUAC Limited Uganda said: “I have been in many countries; when you build a road and you install power, there will be development because investors will come by themselves. We injected a lot of money here and I don’t think we shall get the money. The government needs to work on roads and electricity.”

James Odera, the Kenyan investor and the executive director of Normah Agro Farm said, “The issue of roads and electricity which is the ongoing conversation should be handled as soon as possible by the government.”

Odera said investing in Amuru district has transformed the local communities as some locals have been employed by the farm project. “We have transformed the lives of many. We have about 30 direct employees and we have created indirect jobs as well. I can say lives have been transformed, but we are limited by lack of power and poor roads,” he said.

Speaking during the meeting, Proscovia Acam, deputy resident district commissioner of Amuru pledged that he would inform the central government about the poor state of roads and inadequate electricity in the district.

“The concerns are noted and will be handled. I would like to implore you to focus on the local content to transform this society for the better. We have many of the youth doing nothing yet there is vast land here [in Amuru]. With your coming here as investors, we can make these youth useful,” she said.

Amuru district currently has 15 local investors mainly doing different farming activities. However, Michael Lakony, Amuru District LCV Chairman noted that some of the district officials are extorting money from the investors, a vice he said is forcing many investors to leave the district.

On the concerns of poor roads and lack of electricity, Lakony said they don’t receive enough funds from the central government to work on roads. “Amuru receives Shs 500 million to work on roads and this money is inadequate compared to the road network that we have. However, as the district leaders, we will continue to voice your concerns but we cannot do it alone, he said, urging investors to petition the Ministry of Trade for solutions to their challenges.

Amuru district local government is struggling to maintain over 800 kilometres of roads due to inadequate and untimely funding under Uganda Road Fund. Most of the community roads are currently impassable hindering access to the services like health, markets and education, among others.

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