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Lukwago lashes at contractors delaying on projects

City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has expressed dissatisfaction with contractors who deliver shoddy work or take long to deliver on projects. He expressed his disappointment during a meeting with suppliers of Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA at the second annual KCCA Suppliers’ Conference held at Imperial Royale Hotel.

Lukwago first wondered why contractors handling major road works in Kampala were not in attendance before lashing at them for delaying projects and missing meetings with the city leadership to discuss the delays.

With mentioning the contractors, Lukwago made reference to the 2 Kilometer John Babiiha Avenue, which China State Construction Engineering Company limited has failed to complete for more than a year. The same company is constructing the Nakawa-Ntinda road and Kulambiro Ring Road, all funded by World Bank under the Kampala Institutional Infrastructure Development Project KIIDP 2.

“If I use the language that these Chinese Companies, I may sound as a racist but those companies from China who are taking the bulk of our contracts in billions, I stand to be guided, how many are here? Or they sent their staff? Because I can tell by their color. I am sorry to sound racist,” Lukwago said while scanning the audience to find the Chinese contractors.

Lukwago wondered why one company could have such major projects and fail to deliver on time. Yet still, how a contractor (CSCEC) handling major road works in the city can fail to secure guarantees in a bank.

Lukwago says the City Executive Committee, which he heads shall come up with a blacklist containing companies KCCA should stop working with due to their bad work. He says if the list is developed, submitted to council and a resolution taken, the matter might attract a major audit query and major disciplinary action against the companies.

Lukwago added that the committee has resolved to have the Lord Mayor witness all contracts issued to guide on the companies to get contracts.

The KCCA political wing has often complained about contractors who deliver shoddy work and yet the contracts committee extends their contract. China State Construction Engineering Company Limited (road construction) and Abubekar Technical Services (road Maintenance) are the two companies that have often been queried.

China State, although yet to deliver on KIIDP 2, secured another contract to construct Busaabala Road. At the same event, the Minister for Kampala Betty Amongi also called on contractors to deliver timely and quality work. She says KCCA shall deny non-compliant companies contracts.

KCCA has not given any clear explanation on why it renews contracts of queried companies although sometimes, it blames companies for providing wrong information during the bidding process. The companies demonstrate the capacity to handle a project but later turn out to be under capacitated.

However, some suppliers who attended the meeting blamed some of the delays on delayed payment from KCCA. They say KCCA may promise to make payments in 30 days but end up taking three or more months before effecting payment.

Michael Muyanja from Re-power Technical Services says delays in payment affects suppliers’ delivery especially for growing local companies.   

The Head of the Procurement and Disposal Unit at KCCA, Doreen Akotweere attributes the delay in payment to the late release of funds. She says when procurement ends at the close of a financial year quarter; they have to wait for the Ministry of Finance to release funds in the next quarter before they can effect payments.

The Lord Mayor asked the contractors to build their capacity such that their work does not stall because of delayed payment by KCCA.

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