EU to withdraw from Awoja bridge project
Posted Saturday, March 16 2013 at 02:00
Blame game and allegations of shoddy work, mires the project that was supposed to be completed in January 2012.
The European Union (EU) has said it will withdraw its funding from the construction of the Awoja Bridge, whose works has taken longer than expected.
The construction of the 60-meter long composite deck bridge, located on River Awoja along the Soroti-Mbale highway in Eastern Uganda, was supposed to be finalised last year but shoddy works and blame game by the parties involved, has mired the project.
According to a statement from the EU, they were, “considering terminating the contract following poor performance of the contractor [Spencon Services] on the front of the physical progress”.
The project jointly supported by the EU and the government, started in early 2011 and was supposed to be completed by January 2012 (as agreed in the contract) but since then only, 59 per cent progress has been made instead of expected 208 per cent.
“The contractor was given up to February 13 to extend the performance guarantee, and demonstrate commitment by improving his resource deployment (equipment, materials and labour) to the required level and increasing execution of works on the site but has (to-date) remained sluggish,” the statement added.
The main works involve construction of bridge abutments, two piers, a bridge deck, removal of the old bridge and the realignment of access roads.
Mr Dan Alinange, the spokesperson of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), said the contractor -Spencon, is to blame for the mess. “I am not aware that EU is withdrawing [funding] but I would regard it as a threat. The work on the bridge is progressive but it is not to say that we are happy with the rate at which it is being handled,” he said.
Mr Alinange, however, noted that, UNRA and officials from the Ministry of Works had commenced a number of consultative meetings, to either stick with Spencon or issue the project to another contractor.
The EU publicist, Mr Simon Kasyate, told the Saturday Monitor, they would not disburse any more funds to the government once Spencon is suspended for another contractor, since even the decision to terminate further assistance is in thought.
The construction works is part of the physical infrastructure component of the “Post Flood Rehabilitation of Rural Roads and Social Infrastructure in Northern Uganda” programme.