Motor vehicle inspection is a police role – Kadaga

The disagreement between the executive and Parliament over the award of the mandatory motor vehicle inspection contract to a private firm may not end just about now.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga said the mandatory motor vehicle inspection should be the mandate of the Uganda Police Force, not a private firm.

Launching the Road Safety Legislative Action Plan spearheaded by the Parliamentary forum for Road Safety, Kadaga said, government instead needs to facilitate the Police to conduct motor vehicle and traffic roads inspections as a means of reducing road accidents.

The Legislative action plan is supported by the World Bank, Safe Way Right Way and Ministry of Works and Transport.

It seeks to address policy and legal frameworks  to ensure road safety, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles and road users, and post-crash response.

“As a government we need to give back to the Police the role of inspection. The House has been opposed to many of these things that are happening but because there are not in our hands, they happen nevertheless,” Kadaga said.

“So instead of undermining Police which is our national force, and more over are Ugandans, we need to energise them, give them the necessary support and funding to carry out the necessary inspections and trainings in this country,” she added.

Routine motor vehicle inspection returned after nearly a two decade after it had been suspended in 1998.

Although the initial inspection was managed by the Uganda Police motor vehicle inspection unit, this time round the inspection was given to a private firm, Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), a Swiss company .

However there has been concerns over fraud, corruption and unethical conduct related to the workings of SGS.

This prompted Parliament to move to terminate the contract.

In a statement to Parliament early this month, the Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukuta said government could not terminate the contract since it failed to find any justification to the fraud accusations.

The matter will come to the floor of the house after debate on budget.

Speaking at the launch, Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, World Health Organization (WHO) country representative said that road accidents were killing Uganda’s health  and economic development.

“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,” Woldemariam said.

Uganda’s current statistics indicate that 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.

Ivan Mwondha, a senior transport
specialist at the World Bank said stakeholders  need to prioritize investments in road safety and provide the bedrock for the World Bank intervention through the global road safety facility.

He said, the World bank is currently undertaking a review of the national transport policy and updating it to reflect one of the fundamental tenets of the national transport policy; that is road safety, accessibility, effectiveness and cost-efficiency.

Kadaga also tasked Government to expedite the amendment of the Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998 which the minister promised will be presented to Parliament before end of June 2018.