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BRIEF January 28, 2022

FAQ: Uganda North Eastern Road-Corridor Asset Management Project

What is the North Eastern Road-Corridor Asset Management Project?  What does it aim to achieve?

The $243.8 million North Eastern Road-Corridor Asset Management Project (NERAMP) was approved by the World Bank on April 30, 2014. It seeks to reduce transport costs, enhance road safety, and improve and preserve road sustainably through performance-based asset management contracts along the 340-kilometer long Tororo - Kamdini road corridor in Uganda. This corridor traverses the districts of Tororo, Mbale, Bukedea, Kumi, Ngora, Soroti, Kaberamaido, Dokolo, Lira, Kole and Oyam.

The project is being implemented in two lots: Lot 1, which extends from Tororo to Soroti, and Lot 2 from Soroti to Lira-Kamdini. The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) — which is responsible for the maintenance, development, and management of the national road network under the supervision of the Government of Uganda’s Ministry of Works and Transport — is implementing the project.

How is the project structured?

The NERAMP has two components:

  1. Road rehabilitation, operations, and maintenance for the 340 km North Eastern Road corridor, which links South Sudan, parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and northern and eastern Uganda to the Port of Mombasa. The works and services under this component include the design and rehabilitation of sections of the road corridor; routine and periodic maintenance of the whole corridor; and management of traffic, road safety and axle load control measures.
  2. Institutional support to the UNRA to strengthen its capacity to implement, supervise and manage the Output and Performance-Based Road Contracts (OPRCs), plus asset and road safety management capacity. Technical assistance to UNRA focuses on designing, awarding, and managing OPRCs. The project also provides support to local stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, auditors, and the local construction industry to enhance the planning, development, and maintenance of Uganda’s road network.

Why are Output and Performance-Based Road Contracts being used for this project?

In support of its strategy to mainstream road asset management practices, the Government of Uganda opted to utilize two OPRC contracts, one for Lot 1 and a second Lot 2, with Mota-Engil Africa selected as the contractor for both.

OPRC contracts are designed to make the contractor responsible for the design and maintenance of the road. This helps to reduce the risks related to poor road design, quality control, and cost overruns during construction. Unlike traditional road contracts in which contractors are paid for their input, for example, repaving a road or repairing a pothole, OPRCs pay contractors for their output — that is, each section of road they maintain at a required level of service.

What are the benefits of the NERAMP and who are the beneficiaries?

Once completed, the improved quality and safety of the road, together with the enhanced mobility and movement of people, goods, and services, will benefit over 2.25 million people living in the area in which the corridor traverses. As this is an international corridor, it will also boost Uganda’s competitiveness in regional trade and logistics thereby boosting the local economies, as well as the national economy.

Is the NERAMP subject to the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Safeguards Policies?

Yes, all World Bank investment projects are subject to the World Bank’s safeguards policies which seek to minimize, mitigate or compensate people for adverse impacts by the projects. Accordingly, UNRA, prepared an overarching Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) and a Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF) to guide the work on the NERAMP for activities where the location was unknown at the outset. The World Bank reviewed, approved, and disclosed the ESMF and RPF on UNRA and World Bank websites.

In addition, site-specific Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs) for Lot 1, Lot 2, and Ngetta Quarry (ESIA and Resettlement Action Plan (RAP)) are prepared. The World Bank reviewed and approved the three ESIAs while the Ngetta Quarry RAP is under review. In the meantime, the ESIAs for other project facilities, such as quarries, borrow pits, and construction camps, are under preparation.

What has been done so far?

In 2018, UNRA awarded the contracts for Lot 1 and Lot 2, together with the associated project management consultancy service contract. Since then, pre-construction activities, such as engineering surveys, detailed road designs, and preparation of safeguards documents have been in progress.

On March 2, 2021, the World Bank gave UNRA the go ahead to undertake emergency works along the Lira-Kamdini section of the road corridor because its condition had deteriorated significantly and needed urgent intervention. These emergency works are being undertaken on a provisional basis due to delays experienced in completing safeguards documents as required before major works on the road under NERAMP can begin.

What is the current status of the project?

Major rehabilitation works are yet to start due to substantial delays in the completion of the designs and safeguards instruments as well as challenges in finding sources of aggregate that meet ESIA requirements.

UNRA recently submitted, for the World Bank’s review and approval, revised drafts of the ESIAs for Lots 1 and 2, and the World Bank provided comments to UNRA.  After receiving the draft ESIA for Ngetta quarry on January 20, 2022, the World Bank cleared it on January 23, 2022, but the Ngetta quarry Resettlement Action Plan is still under review. UNRA is also developing other ESIAs for additional auxiliary facilities, such as quarries, borrow pits, and construction camps.

The World Bank continues to engage UNRA to advance progress on the project, working to ensure environmental and social impact assessments and appropriate management plans are prepared in line with World Bank policies and the Government of Uganda’s statutory requirements so that major works under the NERAMP can commence.

How can project-affected people share concerns or lodge complaints?

UNRA is responsible for the transparent resolution of all complaints and grievances. The NERAMP has a dedicated Grievance Redress Mechanism that is accessible at the village level. Complaints can be registered with the local Grievance Redress Committees and at contractor sites.

In addition, people and communities that believe that they have been, or are likely to be, adversely affected by a World Bank-funded project can submit complaints to the World Bank’s Grievance Redress Service or the independent World Bank Accountability Mechanism.

Is the World Bank’s Inspection Panel investigating this project?

Yes, the World Bank’s Inspection Panel is currently conducting an investigation of the NERAMP. As per normal practice neither Management nor Panel comment on an ongoing review. The details about the status and the process of this case can be found on the Inspection Panel website.

Where can the public obtain information on the project?

Project documentation for the NERAMP — such as the Project Appraisal Document, Implementation Status and Results Reports, and Environmental and Social Impact Assessments — are publicly available on the World Bank’s project web page.