Gulu District is operating without a qualified civil engineer, Daily Monitor has established.
The district last had a civil engineer 14 years ago and currently relies on the water engineer to oversee civil works in the district.
A district civil engineer is tasked with the responsibilities of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining and operating infrastructures.
Mr Geoffrey Obura was the last civil engineer the district employed in 2005. He now works with the Ministry of Local Government.
Those who replaced him; Andrew Olal Obong and Samuel Nyeko, but in acting capacity, are all water engineers. The Gulu District LC5 chairperson, Mr Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, said the absence of a civil engineer is affecting service delivery in the area.
“Shoddy works have caused the district a lot of resources, it’s our prayer that one day we will attract one,” he said.
“The problem is associated with the strict regulations that for one to work for local government as an engineer, they must register with the Engineers Registrations Board,’’ he said.
The most affected areas are roadworks, construction of health centres and schools, which are approved despite being poorly done due to lack of supervision by a civil engineer.
The Gulu chief administrative officer, Mr Milton Kato, said the district recently advertised the position but it did not attract a single applicant.
District sources that did not want their identity disclosed for fear of reprimand, however, told Daily Monitor that the position was not attractive because of little pay.
“We are not giving up, we shall put another advert until we get one,’’ Mr Kato said.
The Public Accounts Committee chairperson, Ms Franca Akello, who is also the Agago District Woman Member of Parliament, told Daily Monitor on Wednesday that districts civil engineers are approving substandard works.
“We have advised such districts to recruit immediately so that the taxpayers’ money is not put to waste when shoddy works are approved,’’ she said.
A civil engineer is paid between Shs2m and Shs2.5 million monthly in local governments yet with private firms, they earn more than that.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local government, Mr Ben Kumumanya, did not answer our calls by press time.
Gulu is among 95 of the 121 districts in Uganda which do not have registered engineers, according to a list published in the Uganda Gazette of January 25, 2018, by the Engineers Registrations Board. The list indicates that the country has only 842 registered engineers despite thousands of them graduating from universities every year. Of the 842 registered engineers, 720 are operating within Kampala, with only 105 scattered across the country.