Parliamentarians discuss their role in improving road safety

21 December 2017 – Road safety in Uganda has not been given sufficient attention and traction, despite the fact that it is a significant and growing public health and socio-economic burden, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Forum on Road Safety (PAFROS) said today. Hon. Alex Ruhunda was speaking at an induction workshop on Uganda’s Road Safety Legislative Action Plan, which seeks to address policy development, enactment, implementation and evaluation across several sectors. The workshop was organised by Safe Way Right Way (SWRW), an NGO focused on improving road safety. With support from the World Bank and in partnership with Parliament and other stakeholders, SWRW is leading implementation of the Legislative Action Plan project

“One of the key actors in generating action for public welfare is the Parliament,” said Mr. Ruhunda. “The project development has identified gaps which are cross cutting and require policy development and implementation across several Government agencies with a mandate to support road safety improvement.” Some of the expected outcomes of the project include implementation of the National Road Safety Policy and Strategic Plan, revision of the Traffic and Road Safety Act, strengthening of the National Road Safety Council and establishment of a National Road Safety Authority. Commending the current 50 PAFROS members, Hon. Ruhunda called upon other MPs who share the passion to save lives on the road to join the Forum. “The Parliament of Uganda is committed to ensuring sustained policy actions over the next four years,” he pledged. “This project is the first of its kind globally and we have an opportunity to lead with innovation.”

SWRW Board Chairperson Florentin de Loppinot, who is also the Managing Director of Total Uganda, noted that road safety is a matter of policy. He emphasised that unless policies are developed, reviewed and existing ones implemented, road safety will remain a problem. “Uganda has some good laws and regulations but it is often said that policy implementation is the Achilles heel to the policy cycle,” said Mr. de Loppinot. “As Safe Way Right Way, we have an obligation to point out dysfunctional areas in the system but also to support those actors, including Parliament, who have an important role to play in improving road safety.” He outlined some of the NGO’s achievements, including the recent launch of the Professional Driver Training Uganda project, which is providing professional training for drivers of large commercial vehicles. On 12 December, SWRW also received the prestigious Prince Micheal International Road Safety Award.

“We envision another award for the Legislative Action Plan,” he said. “Our hope is that today with Uganda’s legislators, experts in various fields of road safety, government and non-

government players, we will we begin a process which will allow key indicators to emerge which will encourage and inform our policy direction for road safety.” The World Bank’s Senior Transport Specialist, Ivan Mwondha, said that in recent months, Parliament has shown great passion in debating a political matter. “We hope to see that same passion in the debate on road safety,” he said. “Hopefully, one year down the road, we will have tangible products.”