Parliament together with development partners and the Parliamentary Forum on Road Safety yesterday launched a legislative Action Plan on Road Safety which is aimed at curbing road carnage in the country.
The launch held at Parliament, was presided over by the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga who utilized the opportunity to rally support of the Uganda Police Force to conduct motor vehicle and traffic roads inspections in a bid to curb alarming road carnage.
Kadaga was flanked by members of the Parliamentary forum for Road Safety with support from the World Bank, Safe Way Right Way and Ministry of Works and Transport.
The plan is aimed at galvanizing efforts to address legislative issues regarding the institutionalized management of road safety, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles and road users, and post-crash response.
The speaker at the event highlighted the need for police to take back the role of road transport inspection.
“Instead of undermining Police which is our national force, we need to energise them, give them the necessary support and funding to carry out the necessary inspections [of motors] and trainings in this country,” Kadaga said.
Recently, Ministry of Works and Transport handed over the contract for mandatory inspection of motor vehicles to Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), a Swiss company that provides inspection, verification, testing and certification services.
A popular minority report from the committee on Physical Infrastructure that is currently before Parliament recommended for the termination of SGS’ contract citing multiple irregularities.
At the launch, Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, World Health Organization (WHO), Country Representative to Uganda said that road accidents which is predicted to be the 5th largest killer by 2030 globally, is holding back health and economic development in the country.
“In the last decade, road accidents in Uganda rose by 25.9% from 2597 deaths per year in 2006 to 3536 in 2016. Additionally up to 33% of emergency beds in hospitals are occupied because of road accidents and this is clearly a huge disaster holding back health and economic development in the country,” Dr. Woldemariam said.
He added that whereas the road sector contributes less 5% to the GDP, the country loses 5% of its GDP to roads accidents.
“Uganda is estimated to lose $1.2bn equivalent to 5% of its GDP to road traffic accident and related causes. However, the road sector contributed about 3% in 2014 and 2015 clearly indicating that we are paying more in lives than we gain in the economy,” he said.
Currently, In Uganda, 28.9 persons per 1000 population die in road accidents and this exceeds the average 24.1 persons per 1000 Africans and even higher than 18 persons per 1000 population globally respectively.
Speaker Kadaga also tasked ministry of Works and Transport that was represented by the State Minister Aggrey Bagiire to expedite the amendment of the Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998 which the minister promised will be presented to Parliament.