Home News Kampala-Jinja Highway delayed works irk MPs

Kampala-Jinja Highway delayed works irk MPs

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Members of Parliament on the Committee on Government Assurances have expressed disappointment over the delayed maintenance of the Kampala-Jinja highway.

Committee Chairperson, Betty Nambooze justified that the slow progress of the road works which started in 2021 is a total disgrace adding that it has taken the contractor one year to carry out works on one kilometer from Kigunga to Mukono.

To this end, Legislators questioned the competence of Energo Projekt, a company contracted by the government to undertake civil works.

Parliament approved a budget of Shs.82 billion for the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to supervise the maintenance of the 72-kilometer road with works expected to last 12 months.

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It’s upon the basis that Members of Parliament on the Committee met UNRA officials led by the Executive Director, Allen Kagina who officials from Energo Projekt accompanied to get a progress report on the road works.

“It has become a nightmare to use Kampala-Jinja road. The residents there are economically losing out. Rentals are empty because no one wants to stay in Mukono; parents have given up on schools along Mukono-Jinja road because of heavy traffic,” said

Nambooze wondered why UNRA contracted Energo Projekt even after it was blacklisted by the World Bank in 2012.  

“The company [Energo Projekt] was suspended over fraud and yet UNRA entrusted the same company with a road that is used by four countries. Could this be the reason there are delays in the road works?” said Nambooze.

Nambooze tasked UNRA leadership to provide a due diligence report on Energo Projekt to ascertain its capacity to undertake maintenance of the Kampala-Jinja highway.  

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“What has this company done to redeem itself from the consequences of their behavior and that, maybe what we are seeing right now is not as a result of their past mistake,” Nambooze said.

In Response, Kagina said that in principle, companies get blacklisted for various reasons but there is a period of suspension.

“In this incidence, if I heard you correctly, they were blacklisted in 2012 for a period of two and a half years, and by 2015, that suspension would have been lifted and once it is lifted, you are free to do any job. However, this project was signed in 2021,” She said.

This prompted Ochero County MP, Julius Emigu to ask Kagina if there was no company that was competent to carry out the maintenance works, apart from Energo Projekt.

“Is the ED comfortable that there is no problem in the company undertaking projects after it was blacklisted and how did it win other companies that were not blacklisted?” said Emigu.

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Kagina asked for more time to inquire into the matter saying that she was not aware of the company being blacklisted.   

“We have just got this information from you and I request the committee to give us more time,” she said.

Kagina who also requested an extension of six months to ensure maintenance works are complete by December 2023, blamed delays on the suppressed budget saying that the majority of the maintenance road works were affected.

“The development budget where road maintenance works fall under was cut by 42 percent in 2021/2022. This affected payment of contractors which slowed down work,” she said.

She added that the feature of the road, involving heavy traffic also has made it difficult for workers to be undertaken.

“We are dealing with a road with one of the heaviest traffic. This traffic stems from access roads. The traffic goes on until midnight and starts as early as 5:00 am. This has forced the contractor to work for fewer hours,” she added.

Engineer Charles Naito, UNRA’s Head of rehabilitation added that works further stalled due to discoveries of the need to reconstruct some sections of the road.

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“The scope of the work was maintenance from Mukono to Jinja but the contractor identified one spot in Mabira which will be reconstructed,” said Naita.  

Luuka North County MP Luke Kyobe in the regard urged UNRA to ensure immediate maintenance works are done on the Gayaza-Kalagi road, saying that there is now heavy traffic as a result of the ongoing works on the Kampala-Jinja highway.  

“The Gayaza-Kalagi road is also getting worse and if not maintained, Jinja will be cut off from Kampala,” he said.

The Kampala-Jinja road is a major transit route into the Capital City of the country. It is also used by heavy trucks with goods from Mombasa to Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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