7 September 2017

Uganda: Hoima World Bank-Funded Projects Behind Schedule

Hoima — World Bank-funded construction works on key infrastructural projects in Hoima Municipality are behind schedule, Daily Monitor has established.

Hoima is one of the 14 municipalities in Uganda that received funding under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructural Development Project (USMID), which is co-funded by the World Bank and the government of Uganda.

In the first phase of the USMID programme, the contractors were required to tarmac about four kilometres of roads in Hoima Town, including Kabalega, Government, Coronation, Persy and Old Tooro roads.

The contractors were among others required to work on drainage and street lighting.

World Bank officials and technocrats from the ministry of Lands visited Hoima District on Monday to assess the progress of the five-year projects that started in 2012.

So far, Shs25.8b has been injected into infrastructural development and capacity building. An additional Shs18.8b is expected to be sent to the municipality under the project.

The World Bank team led by Mr Martin Olaa, a senior urban specialist at the bank, observed that several civil works are behind schedule.

"Looking at the remaining work, there is a lot of work to do which includes drainages, walkways, solar street lighting, landscaping and greening" Mr Olaa told municipal leaders after inspecting road works in Hoima Town.

He said basing on the labour force seen on the site, it might be challenging for the contractor to complete civil works within the remaining three months.

The officials observed that some workers lacked safety gears and demanded the contractor to prioritise safety and environmental issues, which are key concerns for the bank.

Although the World Bank has more funding to finance projects under USMID, Mr Olaa revealed that more resources cannot be released before all the work under Phase One of the project is completed, handed over and commissioned.

He advised municipalities to select contractors not necessarily basing on the lowest bidder but rather conduct due diligence and assess the track-record of the contractor in compliance with environmental and social issues.

According to Dr Isaac Mutenyo, the coordinator of the project, while Hoima has received more than Shs1.9b for capacity building, there seems not to be demonstrated value for money compared with other benefiting municipalities whose capacities have been improved.

According to Hoima town clerk, Mr James Luyimbazi, the municipality received Shs25.8b since the inception of the project where 93.9 per cent of the physical works have been completed.

Tukor Engineering Ltd was on June 21 contracted to complete the remaining works by October 14 after the municipality started a process of disengaging Plinth Technical Services that had won the contract to tarmac key roads in Hoima Town.

"Forty solar street lighting units have been installed; there is a stock of 55 solar lighting units on site being installed. There are concrete works on Coronation Road and drainage work on Persy and Old Tooro roads," Mr Luyimbazi said.

Mr Luyimbazi added that the municipality had procured office furniture, conducted physical planning of the municipality, conducted career trainings for seven core staff, renovated the office block and purchased six motorcycles for revenue mobilisation.

The Hoima municipal mayor, Ms Grace Mugasa, is optimistic that Tukor Engineering Ltd will complete the project in the remaining three months and urged stakeholders to support the municipality in realising the project outcomes.

The contract commenced on February 23 2015 and the contractor was supposed to complete the project in February 2016, but the contract was revised to be completed on November 5 2016.

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