UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | A recent Treasury memorandum report presented to Parliament has exposed a significant issue concerning Uganda Railways Corporation (URC) land.
The report reveals that URC’s land, valued at USh91.8 billion, lacks proper land titles, leading to encroachment and land grabbing.
The report, signed by Finance State Minister Evelyn Anite, highlights that the lack of 208 land titles, including the valuable Nalukolongo Workshops land worth USh75 billion, has contributed to the Corporation’s land management challenges.
Despite the land belonging to URC, the management’s efforts to secure the necessary land titles seem to be facing obstacles.
The report raises concerns about the heavy encroachment on and grabbing of URC’s land due to the absence of proper land documentation.
While the accounting officer explained that management was pursuing land titling in various locations, it appears that the process has been slow and ineffective.
In response to the challenges faced by URC regarding land titles, management sought the intervention and assistance of the Solicitor General’s office to help acquire titles for specific lands, including the Nalukolongo Workshops land.
Additionally, measures to halt further encroachment were reportedly put in place. However, the report emphasises the need for continued follow-up on the interventions and the processing of all titles for URC land.
The report also sheds light on URC’s financial performance, revealing that the corporation experienced losses of USh103.8 billion over the past two years.
Specifically, URC reported losses of USh37.7 billion in 2020/2021 and USh66.1 billion in 2019/2020. These losses indicate that the Corporation has been struggling with profitability and sustaining services without additional government funding and management strategies to boost revenue generation.
The accounting officer explained that the performance results during the specified period were heavily impacted by the COVID-19 situation, which particularly affected transit cargo operations. This disruption significantly contributed to URC’s financial losses.
In light of this, the auditors recommended that URC develop strategies, even amidst the challenges of COVID-19, to improve revenue generation and implement cost-cutting mechanisms.
The report also addressed concerns regarding the procurement of four used locomotives, which amounted to USh41.3 billion.
The auditors noted that the bidder did not fully comply with some requirements within the bid document, leading to concerns about the evaluation process.
Despite these compliance issues, the bid was evaluated at the technical stage without strictly following procurement regulations.
The auditors recommended that the evaluation committees carefully check for bid responsiveness and recommend only fully compliant bids for awarding contracts.
In response to the issues raised in the report, the government has taken steps to address them. The recent capital injection by the government aims to improve URC’s infrastructure and equipment, which is expected to expand the customer base and, in turn, boost revenue and performance.
However, it remains crucial for URC to continue implementing effective strategies to improve financial stability and enhance service provision.
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