Force account in maintenance management of public roads
Abenaitwe, T. Asaph
MetadataShow full item record
There are about 20,000Km of national roads under the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) which is mandated to develop and maintain the national road network, through planning, design, construction and monitoring of the road links, bridges and drainage structures on the network. This is done through either direct intervention by Force Account Units or by use of private sector contractors and consultants. There has been considerable pressure from donor agencies and other stakeholders to reduce on force account operations and to step up the use of private sector contractors citing the use of force account as very time consuming, lack of proper equipment, inadequate planning, low levels of staffing and poor quality control among others. This study set out to assess the performance of force account operations with specific objectives of assessing its relevancy, viability and sustainability, evaluating the capacity of UNRA Stations involved in the management of road maintenance activities including weaknesses and to compare the performance operations of force account with contracting. A sample of 36 respondents was selected from 22 UNRA upcountry Stations and UNRA headquarters. From the study, on the scale of 1-5 (strongly agree to strongly disagree) respondents perceptions about force account were that it is a good method of national roads maintenance in Uganda (mean =1.56 and coefficient of variation = 35.8%). That force account based management of national roads maintenance brings all stakeholders into participation (mean= 2.22 and coefficient of variation = 34.2%). Lastly, there is sufficient budget for roads maintenance activities at UNRA Stations (mean= 2.14 and coefficient of variation = 37.3%). Furthermore from the study, lack of road equipment; lack of planning and coordination roads maintenance; lengthy procurement guidelines; and lack of logistical support to field staffs as well as political interference affect the effectiveness of force account implementation in Uganda. Lastly, from the study factors that favour contracting to force account identified are: poor supervision (85.4%), cost savings due to less rework (62.7%); planning and schedule management (56.6%) and limited knowledge on advances in technology (44.3%) strongly influenced the use contracting than force account. It was also found out that 57.4% of contracts awarded in the last four years were not completed in time. From the research, it was concluded that using Force Account in maintenance of National roads is viable; UNRA has the capacity to implement National roads maintenance using Force Account; and that with strengthening of the capacity of Force Accounts units country-wide, Force Account can do well along side contracting in the implementation of National roads in Uganda. Lastly from the research, it was recommended that government should adequately equip all UNRA up-country Stations with modern equipment for the maintenance of National roads so as to bridge the gap created by weak contractors. It was also recommended that government should encourage the co-existence of Force Account and Contracting in the maintenance of National roads in Uganda rather than completely phase it out.