The new UNRA regulations have started biting with Shs. 5bn to be paid in fines by transporters and business community just one month into implementation of these regulations.
The regulations on vehicle dimensions and load control whose implementation started last month has so far seen 129 transporting truck vehicles netted for overloading.
Addressing the press at their offices in Nakawa, the Road infrastructure protection Eng. Reuben Tumwebaze they have already collected Shs. 420m as penalties for overloading under this new regulation that requires the offenders pay express penalties unlike before where they were taken to courts of law where they could be fined little money.
Eng. Tumwebaze further explains that they are still stuck with 7 trucks that are to pay Shs. 530m each as penalties for over loading and these are Congolese and Rwanda trucks that where transporting merchandise to South Sudan.
UNRA anticipates that the new regulations will discourage the overloading phenomenon that contributes to destruction of roads where UNRA spends $64m every year to repair those destroyed by the process.
The New Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) Regulations seek to control and manage the usage or activities carried out on the road, the road reserves and the Ferry Landing sites as well as protecting these assets from abuse. They apply to all national roads. The UNRA regulations were formulated to fit in the East African Community regulations for a seamless implementation around the different countries in the region. UNRA Vehicle Dimension Regulations, 2017 seek to operationalize the UNRA Act, 2006.
Over loading not only poses danger to the safety of other road users but also damages the design lifetime of the road, and environmental degradation as well as leading to unfair trading of commodities on the market, in the long term. These after-effects of overloading necessitated the need for more punitive measures to be able to deter this practice on Ugandan roads.
The regulations now introduce the issuance of Express Penalties for an overloaded vehicle away from the Court fines previously administered and created delays in delivering of trade commodities. The over loading fees have been aligned to the East African Community Load Control regulations. The payment of the express fees is administered through Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) payment system, a convenient way for traders to pay at any time, any day across the different banking institutions recognized by URA. This is envisaged to reduce on the unnecessary trade barriers and ultimately ensure proper and efficient management of the road asset for the benefit of all Ugandans and to safeguard the country’s investment in building a robust infrastructure base.