Contractors threaten to sue districts over pay
Posted Thursday, January 3 2013 at 02:00
The local governments say the Finance ministry delays to send the money hence the arrears.
Local contractors in Acholi Sub-region have threatened to sue local governments over unpaid arrears for completed government projects. The chairperson of the contractors in Lamwo and Kitgum districts, Mr Otim Atiya, said the notice comes after repeated calls to the government to meet the payments in the last two financial years failed.
Mr Atiya said yesterday that more than 50 contractors were demanding millions of shillings in both districts. These include General Mageni Company Limited Company and Aber Mercel Construction Limited.
He also said some 10 contractors want at least Shs318 million which has halted the construction of classroom blocks, health centres, pit-latrines among other projects.
“We cannot do any more work on the different projects because we are short of revenue. This has been the case for the last two years. We are under siege to pay our employees,” Mr Atiya said.
However, the local governments have blamed the Ministry of Finance for the delayed payments. Acholi local government alone demands about Shs9.53b in 2011.
“The major problem is that we receive this money late or at times we do not get it at all,” Mr George Otto, the secretary of finance and administration in Lamwo, said recently.
He added: “When we receive the money, we contract different companies to undertake government projects but before we pay them off, the Ministry of Finance recalls the money- the remainder for the old financial year.” The money is taken to the Consolidated Fund.
Mr Otto accused the deputy secretary to the treasury in the Finance ministry, Mr Keith Muhakanuzi, of frustrating the release of the funds. But Mr Muhakanuzi said the money which returned to the Fund no longer exists because it was used in the 2012/2013 budget.