The completion of Ruhandiika and Kaboyo roads in Fort Portal Tourism City hangs in the balance after city authorities terminated the contractor.
City leaders in February contracted Trinal Consulting Limited to tarmac Ruhandiika and Kaboyo roads, and set the deadline for completion of the works as June. But the contractor failed to beat the deadline, arguing that he was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The city leadership then extended the contract by another two months but this deadline was also not met, leading to the termination of the company.
The contractor was also expected to work on the drainage channels of the two roads.
The city clerk, Mr Innocent Ahimbisibwe, said they are sourcing for another contractor.
"We had to re-advertise and source for another contractor who will complete the works," Mr Ahimbisibwe said last Thursday. The deputy city clerk, Mr John Bosco Rusoke, added that their patience with the contractor ran out.
"On September 9, we wrote to the contractor, notifying him about our intent to terminate his contract and on September 23, we wrote to the bank to help recover some money (about Shs84 million), which we had advanced to him," Mr Rusoke said.
He said the contractor lacked enough workforce and machinery to work on roads and complete them in the agreed time.
Mr Rusoke added that the procurement process to acquire a new contractor in ongoing.
In July, the residents of the city protested over the delayed completion of the roads that were under construction.
Last Wednesday, residents of Mbuzi in North Division blocked the road in the area, protesting over its poor state.
Mr John Mugenyi, a resident, said they have on several times engaged leaders to work on their road in vain.
The former West Division chairperson, Mr Richard Muhumuza, said city tractors, which are supposed to work on community roads, are grounded.
"Recently, the machines which we used to grade some roads, were hired from Kabarole District, and funds for the fourth quarter of last financial year were not released to work on such roads, which are a big challenge to us," Mr Muhumuza said.
The interim city mayor, Rev Willy Kintu Muhanga, said many access roads in the area have been destroyed by heavy rain and they do not have funds to repair them.
"We have not received funds from the central government to run these new cities and this has paralysed service delivery to our people," Rev Muhanga said.
Government last week approved Shs9 billion as a start-up fund for Fort Portal City. However, area leaders say the money is not enough to offer quality services.
At the beginning of this year, Fort Portal Municipality, now a city, received Shs422 million under the Uganda Road Fund for constructing the two roads.