Lira queries contractor over delayed works

A section of Olwol Road in Lira City, which is being constructed under Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development. The government says there is no cause for alarm over the delays. PHOTO / BILL OKETCH

What you need to know:

  • Mr Daniel Okello, the speaker of Lira City West Division, where more than 95 percent of the works are being done, questioned the contractor’s competence.

The slow pace of works under the World Bank-funded Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) in Lira City has sparked off public outburst and queries over the contractor’s capacity to accomplish the work.

Mr Daniel Okello, the speaker of Lira City West Division, where more than 95 percent of the works are being done, questioned the contractor’s competence.

“To date, the work is still at 27 per cent. So, this means the contractor will not beat the deadline. I suspect there could be something fishy that needs to be addressed. Shoddy work is being done, and yet the Lira City Council is quiet about this except the west division,”  Mr Okello said last Thursday.

“We doubt whether the contractor met the requirements for the World Bank-funded infrastructure project. There is no value for money,”  he added.

The government secured a Shs35 billion loan to reconstruct Uhuru Park, Obangakene, Bala, Noteber, Olwol and Boundary road.

The money is also meant for construction of a children’s park at Adyel and completion of Lira Coronation Park.

The contract was awarded to Abubakari Technical Services in a joint venture with Al-Nuami Group.

The agreement was signed between the contractor and the client – Lira City Council – in April 2021, and was due to run for 15 months. 

However, only 27 percent of the work has been accomplished, according to a report by the Lira City West works and technical committee.

The government described as unfortunate the slow pace of the works, but promised progress .

Ms Sheila Naturinda, the USMID communications specialist at the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, told Daily Monitor on Friday that although the works have been delayed, there was no cause for alarm.

“As USMID management, we pray that the people of Lira City trust us to deliver, and the community stays calm. The city has a very qualified city engineer who is responsible for the civil works and as a secretariat, we call upon everyone to support the contractor,” she said.

Ms Naturinda said the contractor had abandoned the project over payments.

Payments

“Our contractor has had to first wait for payments which have now come in and so he is back to recoup. The contractor has asked for a time extension due to several reasons that caused delays, including the delayed utility relocation procedures by National Water and Sewerage Corporation and Umeme,” she said.

The contractor also cited the Covid-19 pandemic, which derailed a lot of work, and the increased cost of building materials such as cement.

Ms Naturinda said once the city is satisfied with the reasons advanced by the contractor, an extension will be granted and works shall be completed.

“We committed to the people of Lira City to have standard work as expected, and I am glad to report that we are on course and should be giving you finished products in a few months’ time,” she added.

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