Gov’t pinned over delays in World Bank infrastructure Project

Members of Parliament have expressed disappointment over the delay in implementation of the World Bank funded Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) Program in Jinja town.
MPs were irked by recent media reports alleging that the contractor abandoned work in Jinja Municipality due to non-payment yet the project is fully funded by the World Bank.
“I need to hear from the Minister of Finance whether he released money to Jinja Municipality and did not pay the contractor” asked Hon James Waluswaka (NRM, Bunyole West County).
Waluswaka said, “It is also alleged that during the selection of contractors, Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets guidelines were not followed; the contractor was using substandard materials on the road”.
The Minister of State for Lands, Housing and Urban Development (Housing), Chris Baryomunsi confirmed the allegations but reiterated that government had taken all the necessary steps to address the situation.
 “It is true there has been some delays in relaying money to the contractor because there was a complaint raised by some engineers in Jinja Municipality contesting the quality of the materials which were used on two roads.” He added that, “we commissioned studies on the said materials using two private laboratories and the test results confirm that the materials used were genuine and up to standard.”
Baryomunsi added that Government had instructed Jinja Municipality to pay the contractor for works to resume.  
“The money is with Jinja Municipal Council and the contractor is authorized to resume and complete the work. The contract, which initially was to end on 16th November has been extended to December 2018,” he said.
The World Bank funded USMID Project is implemented through Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban development in 14 municipalities of Uganda with a major component in infrastructure development. According to Baryomunsi, Government seeks to extend the project to eight municipalities.