Shs300b remains unutilised due to delays in World Bank funded projects

Mr Ajalu (C), listens during inspection of projects in Arua District.  The World Bank, through USMID, is seeking to enhance urbanisation in Uganda. Photo / Courtesy 
  
 

What you need to know:

  • In Kitgum District a road project commissioned in March 2021 and contracted to China Railway 18 Bureau Group had been expected to be completed in 18 months but the contractor has so far asked for two extensions after failing to complete within the scheduled period 

Nearly Shs300b remains unutilised under the World Bank-funded Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development Programme (USMID) due to delays in project implementation. 

Speaking during a review of progress of key infrastructure projects in USMID implementing local governments in West Nile and northern Uganda, Mr Stephen Ajalu, the World Bank senior urban infrastructure specialist, said request for more funding can only be responded to once there is compliance to quality and timeframes. 

“We can only respond to request for more funding once there is compliance to quality, but also keeping within the contract timeframes,” he said. The delays have seen a number of local governments sweep back large sums of money to the consolidated 

The USMID implementing local governments include, Yumbe, Terego, Arua districts and Arua City in West Nile and Lamwo, Kitgum and Gulu in northern Uganda. 

In Kitgum District, officials said they were concerned over delayed completion of a stretch that covers seven roads, including Lakidi, Phillip Adongo, Janani Loum, Kitgum, Tom Apila and Oneke roads in Central Division and Aya Hellen Dean in Pandwong Division. 

The project, which was commissioned in March 2021 and contracted to China Railway 18 Bureau Group at Shs16b, had been expected to be completed in 18 months. 

However, Kitgum Municipality engineer Alex Abonga,  said the remaining work cannot be completed without an extension.

The district had already extended the completion date to November 30 but the contractor has since requested an extension of up to January 30 with Mr Zhang Zhiwei, the commercial manager of China Railway 18 Bureau Group, requesting for patience.

Mr Ajalu said once a project is selected, it must be delivered as per budget and on time, noting that they are discussing with the Ministry of Finance to find solutions to project delays.  

In Yumbe, Mr Abdul Mutwalib, the district chairman, said project implementation and completion remain a challenge. 

For instance, he said, out of the allocated Shs32b, the district had only absorbed Shs3.9b while Shs28.1b swept back to the Treasury in the last three years.   

However, Mr Joseph Padde, the Ministry of Lands commissioner for urban development, said government was addressing some of the challenges through supporting implementation units with additional capacity in designing and physical planning.  

In West Nile, Mr Sam Wadri, the Arua City mayor, said about Shs9b had been swept back to the Treasury yet the city needs funds to construct bridges and other infrastructure. 

Completion 

Delays have been experienced elsewhere. However, in Terego, officials said construction of a Shs1.1b multipurpose recreational facility was on course. Terego District engineer Sigfred Budra, said the project was progressing well and is expected to be completed mid next year. 

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