UGANDA, Soroti | Real Muloodi News | His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, issued a directive earlier this year that all new government school and hospital projects should be handled by the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) Engineering Brigade, with effect from the current financial year 2021/2022.
According to the president, the UPDF Engineering brigade, back in time, has managed to build capacity for handling construction projects that range from the relatively easy ones to the more complex ones and eventually to the even more advanced projects.
As a result, he noted that his directive would go a long way in avoiding delays that have often mounted from government projects handled by different contractors.
The presidential directive will not affect the projects that are already ongoing.
Dr Diana Atwiine, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health, wrote to the accounting officers in local governments in September instructing them to put the Presidential directive of the UPDF Engineering Brigade taking over the construction projects for all health facilities and schools in the country in action.
However, accounting officers need to wait for further guidance from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA), says Dr Julius Okello, the team leader and head of infrastructure development at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) delivery unit.
The various district local governments continue to watch on in total dilemma as they really can’t tell what to do with the construction funds in their possession. They have to wait for further guidance from the different line ministries that will direct them to move forward with the UPDF Engineering Brigade.
Therefore large sums of money amounting to billions of Uganda shillings remain at risk in Soroti District and City because the accounting officers are still waiting for more instructions on how the army will be incorporated into the construction works.
“We are still stuck with the money because the government has not yet given clarification on the scope of work that will be handled by the army,” says Luke Lokuda, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) in Soroti.
He adds that donor-funded projects have presented more significant complications because the donors are not welcoming the idea of UPDF taking over the construction.
The district Engineer in Soroti, Denis Ocung, still has reservations on the UPDF’s capacity to deliver on time all the local government projects given their tight schedule and the commitment to other requirements.
According to the Soroti City East Division Mayor, Paul Omer, a few government pronouncements have significantly impacted service delivery in the local governments.
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