Residents of Rukungiri and Kanungu can now take a sigh of relief after the long delayed works on the Rukungiri-Kihihi-Ishasha Road finally got a contractor.
Civil works are expected to start in 42 days from today.
Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) on Monday signed contracts for the 78.5km road that traverses the districts of Rukungiri and Kanungu, as well as the 41km Masaka-Bukakata road.
The Rukungiri -Kihihi-Ishasha road has been contracted to the China Henan International Corporation Group Company Ltd that won the Shs. 207.8bn project, beating 11 other firms that had submitted their bids in July 2018.
The Masaka- Bukakata contract valued at Shs 195bn was awarded to The Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman $Co) after the former contractor, Copri Construction enterprises W.L.L failed to submit a performance Security Report which Forced UNRA to cancel the procurement.
Funded through a loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the Road Sector Support Project, The Rukungiri- Kanungu road which is expected to be completed within 36 months will be supervised by SMEC Limited and an internal team from UNRA; while the Masaka-Bukakata road will be funded through proceeds of a loan signed between the Government of Uganda and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa and OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), signed in 2012.
The contractor for the Masaka road is expected to commence work in 60 days and deliver the project within 24 months.
The two projects have for a long period of time failed to take off due to political and procurement issues where a number of whistle blowers continued to make alarms for alleged corruption.
Speaking at the contract signing, the Executive Director UNRA Allen Kagina expressed concern over selfish unsuccessful bidders and politicians who disguise as whistle blowers and stall government projects, causing losses to the government.
“These two projects have been the most challenged with several wrong whistle blowers that forced us to stop the procurement process more than twice. We are very glad that finally the projects went through and ground works will start soon,” she said.
Kagina however noted that Government through UNRA has done the due diligence and gone through all the procurement processes to make sure that the chosen contractors are the most deserving that will deliver quality work with in time
The State Minister for Works Edward Katumba Wamala said Government is looking at how to change the Whistle-blowers’ Act that has been misused on several projects to make sure that projects are not stopped half way.
“Instead of stopping a project midway and causing the government to incur losses, we want to make it in a way that any whistle blower issues are investigated while the project goes on. If the issues are found to be substantial, the grieved contractors can be compensated later,” Wamala said.
Wamala further appealed to locals in those areas to take advantage of these multibillion projects in their areas to make sure they benefit through job opportunities and market for their goods.
“Even for those projects we expect 30% of the project works to go to locals. However I appeal to Ugandans to work on their work ethics and desist from misusing these job opportunities to steal or cause losses to the contractor” he said.
James Kaberuka the MP Kinkiiz West expressed gratitude to the government and UNRA for finally giving hope to the people of Kinkizii and allowing the project that has been on stand still since 1988 to finally begin.
“This was long overdue. The road will help not the people of Rukugiri and Kanungu but also the rest of Uganda as it connects two national parks. This is a major tourism road that will great a lot of opportunities for Uganda” Kaberuka said