UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | As Uganda prepares to host two major international conferences in December, concerns have emerged regarding the progress of infrastructure development projects.
The 19th Non-Aligned Movement Summit and the third South Summit of G77 countries + China, both scheduled to take place at Speke Resort Munyonyo, are expected to attract over 100 heads of state.
These events provide an opportunity for the Ugandan government to showcase the country’s infrastructure development.
However, the construction of the road network around Munyonyo is significantly behind schedule, raising serious concerns among government officials.
The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and the contractor China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) are at the centre of the controversy.
UNRA blames the contractor for the delays, while sources indicate that the contractor’s progress has been hindered due to non-payment by UNRA.
In September 2020, UNRA entered into an agreement with CSCEC for the upgrading of the Najjanankumbi-Busabala Road, Munyonyo Spurs interchange, and service roads.
However, with less than six months remaining until the summits, less than 30 per cent of the work has been completed.
UNRA’s Acting Head of Road Development, Dan Iga, communicated to CSCEC on March 14, expressing concerns about the contractor’s delays in completing most of the structural works.
He invited the contractor’s top management for a meeting to find a way to ensure timely completion. This letter followed an earlier warning from Lucy Nakyobe, the Head of Public Service and Secretary to Cabinet, who alerted UNRA’s Executive Director, Allen Kagina, about the delays.
“In one of the meetings held with the ministry of Local Government and accounting officers of Wakiso and surrounding town councils, it was decided that a meeting is convened with you to discuss the status of key roads in the NAM and G77 summits that fall under your jurisdiction,” she noted.
Nakyobe emphasised the need for a meeting to discuss the status of the infrastructure projects like the key roads in preparation for the summits.
During the meeting held on March 16, UNRA was blamed for inadequate payment arrangements with CSCEC.
Attendees expressed concerns about poor planning and the potential embarrassment of having the construction ongoing during the international conferences.
The contractor reportedly faced difficulties due to a lack of fuel for machines and unpaid staff, leading to the abandonment of some work sites.
Allan Sempebwa, the UNRA spokesperson, clarified that the Najjanankumbi-Busabala Road project was not specifically undertaken for the summits but is part of the government’s overall development plan.
Sempebwa stated that the project was given a three-year timeline and is progressing according to schedule.
Regarding the delayed release of funds to the contractor, Sempebwa explained that UNRA disburses funds based on the contractor’s performance.
Payments are made upon the completion of project phases, and the contractor can request funding for subsequent phases.
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