Background of Uganda National Roads Authority

Background of Uganda National Roads Authority

The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) was established by an Act of Parliament; The Uganda National Authority Act, No. 15 of 2006. UNRA became operational on 1st July 2008.  The mandate of UNRA is to develop and maintain the national roads network, advise Government on general roads policy and contribute to addressing of transport concerns, among others.

Brief background

UNRA is one of the products of Road Sector Reforms. In 1996, the Government of
Uganda prepared the 10-Year Road Sector Development Programme (RSDP). The
Programme was reviewed and updated in 2002 making it a 10 Year rolling Road Sector
Development Programme Phase 2 (RSDP2). One of the objectives of the RSDP was
establishing a robust administration for effective and efficient management of the
national roads network. To achieve this objective, Government committed itself to
reform national roads management through the establishment of an autonomous
performance-based Road Authority to handle road administration and execution function
and restructuring the Ministry of Works and Transportation (MoWT) to focus on policy, setting standards, regulation, monitoring and evaluation functions.

The UNRA Bill

As part of the reform process, in 1998 the Road Agency Formation Unit (RAFU) was
created as a semi-autonomous agency within the MoWT to manage the national roads
development. In 2002, a study was conducted on the establishment of an autonomous
Road Authority. The findings of the study informed the drafting of the Bill for creating the
Uganda National Roads Authority. The Bill was passed by Parliament of Uganda in May 2006 and was signed into Law by the President in June 2006. The Board of Directors (BODs) was
appointed in January 2007. Thereafter, the Executive Director was appointed in November2007. UNRA became fully operational on 1st July 2008.


Road Network

By June 2009, the national roads network was estimated at 10,000 km. In July 2009, the central government doubled the national roads network by taking over an additional 10,000 km of the district roads network. This increased the national roads network to about 20,000 km, and meant increased responsibilities for the Authority.

UNRA’s Mandate

The Authority is mandated to:

  • develop and maintain the national roads network totaling to
    about 20,000km, managing ferries linking the national roads network and controlling
    axle overloading.
  • To render advisory services to Government and for related matters concerning National Roads Network, among others.

Functions of UNRA

Some of UNRA responsibilities include:

  • The management of the National Roads network;
  • Maintenance and development of the national roads network;
  • Advising the Government on policy matters concerning roads generally;
  • Assisting in the coordination with relevant ministries, departments and agencies of Government.
  • Linking ferries to the national roads, and managing the axle load control.
  • Contributing to the addressing of transport concerns in overall national planning through coordination with the relevant ministries, departments and agencies of Government;
  • Collaborating with international organizations, inter-government organizations and agencies of other states and the private sector on issues relating to the development and maintenance of roads;
  • Entering into agreement or other arrangements with any person for the provision of roads services, subject to such charges as may be agreed.
  • Advising and assisting the Minister on matters, say, related to the planning, design, construction and maintenance of roads, whether the roads are part of the national roads network or not.
  • Establishing and maintaining road reserves.



To operate a safe, efficient and well-developed national roads network


To develop and maintain a national roads network that is responsive to the economic development needs of Uganda, to the safety of all road users, and to the environmental sustainability of the national roads corridors.

UNRA Goals

  • Optimize the quality, timeliness and cost effectiveness of road works.
  • Guarantee all year round safe and efficient  movement of people and goods throughout the country.

UNRA Values

  • Customer Focus: we exist because of our customers and they come first.
  • Corporate Identity: the public image of our organisation is a mirror of our professional ethics, moral conduct and commitment.
  • Accountability: we are accountable for our actions.
  • Transparency: we shall maintain an open door policy and consult with our customers as frequently as possible to ensure that what we do serves.
  • Excellence: we intend to achieve our goals through hard work, innovation, creativity, prudence and exemplary leadership.
  • Integrity: we are dedicated to serving with honesty, high professional standards and good ethical conduct.

Financing of the Authority

The Operations of the Authority (salaries, road maintenance & developments) are funded by the Government of Uganda. The Development Projects are co-funded by Government of Uganda and Donors particulary the World Bank, European Union, Africa Development Bank and Nordic Development Fund.


Highlights of the UNRA Act

The Act stipulates as follows:

  • The Authority shall in the provision of its services, conduct itself in the most economic, efficient and effective manner.
  • It shall manage its affairs in a businesslike and cost effective manner and in accordance with modern management practices and techniques.
  • It shall apply to its operations the best standards of financial management and accounting.
  • It shall ensure that the operations undertaken are designed for the provision of the best services to its customers, while maintaining a high degree of responsiveness to their needs.

Estimated Total Workforce

The estimated workforce is about 1050 and comprises of Top Management Team (TMT), Managers, Senior Professionals, Professionals and Senior Technicians, Technicians and Executive Assistants,Junior Technicians and Drivers, among others.

The Legal Unit is responsible for overseeing all legal issues pertaining to UNRA’s operations.
These include:

  • Reviewing all contracts entered into by the Authority;
  • The development of all procedures, manuals, standards and policies that have a legal implication;
  • Reviewing existing legislation and recommendations for revisions where necessary;
  • Providing legal advice to other areas of UNRA. This includes areas of contract disputes and variations;
  • Act as Secretariat for the UNRA Board.

During the FY 2009/10, the Legal Unit plans to implement the following activities, in addition
to its normal operational duties:

  • Completing UNRA Procurement Accreditation Manual by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA). This will provide UNRA with exemption from the current PPDA procedures, thereby streamlining and accelerating the procurement of contracts and other supplies and services.
  • Developing a Manual for Claims Disputes, covering how UNRA is to address all aspects of claims and disputes on its contracts with suppliers.
  • Clarification and resolution of insurance liability (e.g. Professional Indemnity) pertaining to contracted parties, in order that UNRA can recover the cost from unsatisfactory work by contracted consultants and contractors.
  • Ferries insurance protection for UNRA, to cover any claims for negligence from passengers using UNRA controlled ferries. (No additional costs are involved in this activity.
  • Drafting of Regulations pertaining to the UNRA Act, clarifying how UNRA is to operate.

These will require subsequent approval by the Minister.

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