Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Auditor-General John Muwanga has raised concerns on the exorbitant costs of delivering services by Kalangala Infrastructure Services-KIS.
The concerns are raised in the Auditor General’s report of the financial year 2018/2019 where more than 16 billion shillings is reported to have been wasted on the company for the last 6 years.
In September 2005, the government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with InfraCo Limited to develop, expand and maintain key infrastructure services on Bugala island in Lake Victoria.
Kalangala Infrastructure Services – KIS, a private operator was awarded a contract to operate efficiently and serve the island residents with improved access to safe water, safer transportation and more reliable solar-powered electricity.
128 billion shillings was earmarked to take on the project. The company embarked on the construction for the upgrade of Luuku – Kalangala – Mulabana (65.6 km) road from Class “C” to Class “B” gravel standards.
During the construction phase, Government paid 40.85 billion shillings in form of road support payments against a total of 40.16 billion shillings reported to have been incurred by KIS as actual road development costs upon completion of the road construction works.
“In addition, with the road support payments spread over 13 years, projections show that government of Uganda will spend a total of 120.25 billion shillings which is considered costly given that KIS is not responsible for maintaining the road,” the report reveals.
The auditor general also noted that the oversight committee of the whole project had not been operationalized as required under the Implementation Agreement.
Similar concerns have severally been raised by Kalangala district chairperson Willy Lugoloobi who also requested for a review of the contracts between Uganda and the company.
In 2011, Kalangala district authorities led by then RDC Deo Kayiwa Nsereko petitioned President Yoweri Museveni over exorbitant costs of operating Kalangala main road by Kalangala Infrastructure Services Limited. The costs according to the leaders needed to be reviewed by the Ministry of Works and Transport and that of Finance.
“We were instead told to look at the services we are to receive as a district instead of the cost of proving the services. That is the reason we kept silent until now when the issue has been brought back. Now, the district is suffering because both the Uganda National Roads Authority and the Ministry of works cannot maintain our road just because of the exorbitant costs,” Kayiwa says.
In 2017, Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA executive director Allen Kagina protested the payment of an annual fee 17.2 billion shillings to KIS to operate the ferries and a quarterly UGX 3 billion for the road reimbursements road construction works undertaken by Kalangala Infrastructure Services Limited.
She said the cost is two times higher than the budget of operating the rest of the 8 ferries operated by UNRA across the county.