Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Parliamentary Commission on Monday received a contradictory status report from the contractor of the new chamber, something that sparked-off anger from Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
Kadaga was leading a section of Parliamentary Commissioners including Leader of Opposition (LOP) Betty Aol Ocan, Buhweju County MP Francis Mwijukye, Central PWD Representative Safia Nalule and Worker’s MP Arinaitwe Rwakajara.
This was their second onsite visit in a space of two months amidst dissatisfactory remarks on the speed of the construction works of the new chamber which was expected to be completed today 27th July 2020.
The Shillings 206 billion project started in August 2017 and is being undertaken by Roko Construction Limited. The building is expected to provide more space and offices compared to the current chambers. It will increase the number of seats for the legislators from the current 100 to 600. It will have 9 floors comprising an ultra-modern museum, state of the art archiving facility and gallery and others.
In June 2019, the construction works stalled pending the approval of an altered design by the Solicitor General, which came through on September 26th, 2019 paving way for work to resume.
However, during their interface with the contractor today, the Parliamentary Commission received a verbal report from the contractor indicating that the construction was now at 17 percent contrary to last month’s report of a 34 percent status.
The 17 percent status shocked Speaker Kadaga wondering whether an earlier report provided by the contractor was not factual. Speaking about the contradictions, Kadaga said that the Commission will need a written clarification on the construction status also noting that the contractor will have to meet the extended deadline of 27th July 2021.
Kadaga also expressed concern about the speed of the contractor saying that the Commission hopes to see the number of workers increased from the current 200 and also working 24 hours a day.
LOP Betty Aol Ocan also raided queries about the status report provided by the contractor. She wondered whether the 50 workers the contractor intends to add on the already existing 200 workers on site will speed up the work.
MP Francis Mwijukye said that the contractor needed to prioritize the new chamber work noting that he was worried about them meeting the completion date.
Worker’s MP Arinaitwe Rwakajara and Central PWD Representative Safia Nalule demanded that the contractor provides the Commission with a written monthly report to avoid contradictions.
Andy Sonnet, the Contracts Manager Roko Construction Limited assured the Commission that the work will be completed by July next year. he says that they are fully committed to achieve the extended deadline. Asked why they are behind schedule, Sonnet said that issues concerning land and changes in the plan caused a delay.
He also noted that the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic affected their progress since the head quarter offices were under lock and key for some time and that suppliers could not provide them with materials.
In regard to the contradictory status report, Sonnet said that they are not at 17 percent but rather at 32 percent and that the project will be completed in time. He also noted that they are considering a possibility of working at night as well.
Last month, the Sergeant at Arms Ahmed Kagoye, said that parliament was prepared to accommodate workers if ROKO would introduce the night shifts. The entire project is now expected to be completed in July 2021.