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Gov’t warned against single sourcing for Jinja expressway

FILE PHOTO: The Expressway highway

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  | Transparency International Uganda – TIU and Anti-Corruption and Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda – ACCU have warned government against single sourcing for Jinja expressway.

Peter Wandera – Transparency International Executive Director, said that government should avoid single-source procurement that may lead to overpricing of goods and services.

Wandera said if government doesn’t avoid single-source procurement, issues that came up during the construction of Entebbe Expressway will repeat thus causing loss of taxpayers’ money.

Entebbe Expressway way is one of the most expensive road projects in Africa. This, Wandera attributes to overpriced goods and services, delays in delivery, delivery contrary to what was prescribed in the contract and inflation in pricing.

“The Entebbe Expressway, for instance, one of the most expensive road projects in Africa was overpriced, delivered out of time and came at a huge overall cost to the taxpayers because of technicalities that were incorporated into the procurement process, advice from stakeholders was ignored and a number of laws flaunted,”  Wandera said.

The government of Uganda signed a 350m preferential buyer credit loan agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China.

Wandera said a number of provisions were not taken into consideration. He said the loan agreement contained a number of provisions which included the conditions and utilization of the facility.

Under this, the goods, technologies and services purchased by using the proceeds of the facility would be purchased from China preferentially and the technical standards be used for implementation of the project should be preferentially relevant Chinese standards.

“This implicitly went against the provisions of the local content requirement. The loan also contained a provision where government explicitly waives its rights to claim sovereign immunity for itself or over its property in any judgement by a court. This leaves the country at huge risk of losing a vital infrastructure asset to the Chinese if they are unable to repay the loan,” Wandera said.

Cissy Kagaba, ACCU Executive Director, said government should be extra careful with Jinja expressway that is funded by African Development Bank, French Development Agency and European Union. Kagaba expressed worry for the delays that have so far been registered in the planning, feasibility studies in Jinja Road highway.

“We call on the government to exercise restraint especially in as far as the Jinja – Kampala expressway is concerned so as not to suffer the challenges that came with Entebbe Expressway,” Kagaba said.

Kagaba emphasized that government should allow relevant procurement authorities do their work by allowing the legal procurement processes to follow due course.

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