Shoddy work, delays cost  Roko hotel project in Jinja

Roko staff attend a workshop recently. The construction company has had its contract on a two-storeyed building housing Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute in Jinja cancelled over alleged shoddy work. PHOTO/FILE 

What you need to know:

  • The company was supposed to have completed works on a building housing Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute a year ago.
  • The government secured funding for the project through the International Development Association (IDA) and World Bank through its Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project (CEDP).

Roko Construction finds itself in a spot of bother after losing part of a Shs19b contract over alleged shoddy works and delays.
The construction company was supposed to have completed expansion works on a two-storeyed building housing Uganda Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (UHTTI) in Jinja City a year ago. 

Speaking at UHTTI’s 12th graduation ceremony last weekend, the minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Col (rtd) Tom Butime, revealed that the government had decided to cancel the contract since progress is only at 50 percent.
“We are looking for another contractor to finish the job, which Roko could not finish and has failed at Phase II,” he said, adding: “We want another company to complete phase III and IV, which will cost Shs3.8b,” he said. 
The chairperson Board of Governors at UHTTI, Mr James Wakadaala, said Roko allegedly sub-contracted another company, which did substandard work.

“I think Roko went ahead and got some contractors to do some of the works at the finishing level, which we felt were not well done…the supervising consultant has promised to rectify all those glitches before the handover of phase I,” he said, adding that Roko had received Shs16b thus far.
The state minister for Tourism, Mr Martin Bahinduka, had earlier expressed dissatisfaction over the quality of work that has stalled at phase II.

“The rooms, the floor and bathrooms were of poor quality and we are not impressed. It is a hotel and needs to be to the standard to compete with the rest of the private sector within Jinja,” he said.
The Roko construction manager, Mr Benson Blasi, said the pandemic affected the smooth running of the project. He added that Roko was in a position to make improvements since it is still on the site.

The government secured funding for the project through the International Development Association (IDA) and World Bank through its Competitiveness and Enterprise Development Project (CEDP). The UHTTI was established in 1994 to offer tourism hospitality studies and short courses.  UHTTI is a government-owned tertiary institution established under an Act of Parliament with a mandate to undertake training. It also conducts research in the tourism and hospitality sector with the aim of advancing skills and knowledge.

Roko Construction Ltd entered into a contract with the government represented by Private Sector Foundation Uganda to construct UHTTI Phase I on March 7, 2018. The site was handed over to Roko on April 10, 2018 for commencement of works for a period of 12 months. 
Roko says extension of time awards at no cost were given on August 30, 2019, December 13, 2019, and February 14, 2020 due to variations and additional works to the contract.
The pandemic also occasioned another extension with no costs up to September 30, 2020 and January 9, 2021 to implement mitigative measures. The second Covid-19 wave pushed the completion date of phase I works to October 22, 2021.
 

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