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Lamwo district leaders decry slow pace of USMID project

Lamwo community resource center under construction. URN photo

Lamwo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Lamwo district leaders have expressed concern over the slow pace of work on the 1.5 Billion Shillings resource center in Lamwo town council.

Work on the resource center which is being financed under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development-USMID project started in June 2021, and is projected to be completed within nine months.

However, the leaders have expressed concern over the slow pace of the work, which they say stands at only 35 percent, three months to the contract deadline.

Geoffrey Osborn Oceng, the Lamwo Resident District Commissioner says that Christone Contractors Uganda Limited, the company contracted to undertake the work has abandoned the site for the past four days.

Wilfred Nyeko, a member of the project management team said the contractor was given 300 Million Shillings at the same time as another contractor who is constructing a market at Palabek Ogili and the market is at a 70 percent completion rate.

“I think the capacity of this particular contractor in terms of financial muscle is wanting. We made several attempts including recommendations but until now work is not progressing well,” Nyekjo said.

The LCV Chairperson of Lamwo, Sisto Ocen Oyet, says that one of the challenges affecting contracts involving infrastructure is the use of contractors sourced from outside the district through the hybrid system.

According to Ocen, the hybrid contractors are disobedient and most of them are not even known by district leaders.

“The only person who knows the contractor is the engineer…we don’t even know what they are doing or taking. Sometimes you can’t even supervise them because you can’t see them. We only follow when they come to us,” Ocen said.

Ocen suggested that the proposal by the President that the contracts be given to the UPDF would help reduce what he termed as unnecessary delays in contract works.

“We tried supervising the contractor of Paloga Seed Secondary School and failed. We talked to him and he just looked at us like fools because he knows he has a godfather in Kampala,” Ocen said.

The project is part of the projects being funded with the Shillings 1.3 trillion the government secured from the World Bank to implement the second phase of the USMID/Additional Financing (USMID/AF) for a period of five years starting the financial year 2018/2019.

The funding has so far covered 18 municipalities. The USMID/AF is purposed to rehabilitate urban roads and other infrastructures such as bus terminals, market stalls, waste management systems, cottage industries, and tourism sites among others in the chosen municipalities.

The community resource center, once completed will have a main block with a community hall having a six-roomed main block, one kitchen block, two 11 stance blocks of drainable latrine with two bath shelters, a borehole to be drilled in the compound, a library, offices, and a boardroom.

Although the fund is meant for municipalities, Lamwo got it because it is one of the refugee-hosting districts and faces pressure on its social amenities and infrastructure.

Lamwo district hosts about 66,552 refugees and asylum seekers mainly from South Sudan, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report of 30 November 2022.



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